"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> THEE SGT. MAJOR III
"The Ideal Factory"
By: Libby Freeman
Those who remember Kurt Bloch and Mike Musburger from the Seattle power pop band The Fastbacks (active throughout the 1980s until they disbanded in 2001) may be curious as to what Bloch has been up to recently. Bloch, along with Mike Musburger have joined forces with Leslie Beattie on vocals and Jim Sangster on the "stringed baize," (which I assume is either some sort of clever musician joke or an obscure instrument that I am showing off my ignorance of) and released their first full length as THEE SGT. MAJOR III.

"The Idea Factory" is a 13 song salute to power pop, pre-punk and garage rock...maybe even some elements of jazz, but not too much. As much as I hate to be derivative, the review process is somewhat derivative so I don't feel too bad remarking that all the elements, both lyrically and musically of fun, pop- quirkiness that were present in the Fastbacks are also present in THEE SGT. MAJOR III. Well, half the band is present so I shouldn't really feel bad at all about my own derivative tendencies. What I should feel bad about is the comparison I am about to make: THEE SGT. MAJOR III sounds very much like a power struggle between Le Tigre and the Ramones. No, not just because they have a female singer and not because they gave a "gabba gabba" shout in "Battery Operated." My comparison has more to do with the pitch and jaunts Beattie's vocal course takes and the fun, upbeat catchy-ness of their songs. Unlike the Ramones, TSMIII explore a range of chords and are given to musical complexities. I should ad complexities that are intricate without being tiresome.

"As I Do" is danceable and bratty, proclaiming: "I was there when the king was crowned and I'll be the first to knock him down." The entire album is danceable, drum and lyric driven. "What Am I Gonna Do" expresses a polite contempt for conventional work and suburban ideals, which I rather admire. I mean, the consensus life that people are supposed to live is shitty, but there's no reason to be nasty about it I suppose. "New Painter Man" manages to intentionally sound a bit like "My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angles and at the same time maintain garage rock guitar solos...nice.

This release is as thought provoking as the title suggests it should be and mos def worth checking out for Fastback fans, and enthusiasts of power pop, pre-punk, garage rock, and you know, good music in general.