Third Eye Blind: Ursa Major

RIYL: Eve 6, Matchbox Twenty, Better than Ezra

It’s amazing to think rock band Third Eye Blind has been around since the mid-‘90s, but they have as their debut was released in 1996 and spawned not only some of their biggest hits, but some of the best songs of the decade in “Jumper” and “How is It Gonna Be?” as well as lesser known beauties like “Motorcycle Drive By.” But this was a case of setting the bar so high, that there was no place to go but down. And while Third Eye Blind is, according to press materials, one of the most sought-after college campus touring acts and also uses technology to further their career, they seem to have lost the focus on the one thing that matters – making good music. On their latest album and first release in six years, Ursa Major, Stephan Jenkins and company deliver a new batch of songs that are really somewhat dull and lifeless. It’s not that the band lacks energy, it’s that the songs make them sound like they are going through the motions. “Don’t Believe a Word” has elements that made “Semi-Charmed Life” a hit, and “Sharp Knife” has flashes of the band finding that sweet spot. But when Jenkins sings “Let’s Start a Riot” in the opener, “Can You Take Me,” it has all the impact of a cotton ball hitting the ground. And “One in Ten” and “Monotov’s Private Opera” are wussy, bland and really kind of annoying. The early stuff from Third Eye Blind was hooky and had so much raw emotion that you couldn’t help but get sucked in, but Ursa Major will suck you in and spit you out before you even finish listening. (LABEL: Mega Collider)

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