Carsick Cars are a fun band to listen playing live because they have fun rhythyms and catchy melodies and they sound good loud, plus they are tight, which is a basic to be a professional band, but really not in China yet. 3 is not a good album to listen at a moderate volume, if it’s not loud it sounds flat most of the time, the production of 3 took the sound of the band to an even more pop area taking away the characteristic sound that used to give personality to the band.
Carsick Cars sounds now a lot more professional, just that professional is not always better. The harmonies are a step forward for Carsick Cars on 3, they are more technically evolved. “On Midnight Driver” there’s a strong vibe to the Yes of the early 80s, Zhang Shouwang doesn’t go as high as Jon Anderson, but there’s a big resemblance to him. The changes also affect the guitar that’s not anymore dirty and rusty, now it’s fancy. But the general ideas are still matching, “15 Minutes Later” for example sounds a lot like “他们的一员” the first track of their previous album You Can Listen, You Can Talk.
It’s very strange the feeling I get from the band with 3, they seem to be really close to progressive rock now, the harmonies, the cleaner singing, the fancier guitar, the moments that the drums go pushy like in “Reaching The Light.” Listen to “White Song” and try not to hear the instruments of The Who, the psychedelic pop The Who. “Shelter Song” and “The Best VPN So Far” also remind me of Duck Fight Goose with the guitar effects and the similarities with alternative rock. And then all the pop elements that are all around 3.
There are a lot of changes on the sound and music style of Carsick Cars, they are still dance rock and themselves essentialy, but they are different now, any punk, indie rock influence they had before is gone.
3 has good moments, and it definetelly has some hits in it, but if this sound is who Carsick Cars are going to be from now on I will need more time and more songs to rebuild my relationship with their music. It’s a difficult change to digest because they were dirty and rusty, and now they are clean and pop, and that change is like when your party pal gets married and serious and decides is time to grow up and that having fun now is shopping for furniture.
3 was recorded in New York, it was produced by Peter Kember also producer of records of Panda Bear and MGMT. The album was released under the labels of Maybe Mars in China, and tenzenmen in Australia. During the five years between their previous album You Can Listen, You Can Talk and 3 the band changed their formation two times. To celebrate the release of 3 the band toured North America and played twentyfive shows in twentyfive days.