The Third Sound is the solo project of Icelandic musician Hákon Aðalsteinsson who used to play in cult Reykjavik rock’n’roll bandits Singapore Sling and currently plays in Brian Jonestown Massacre. Now residing in Berlin with a fleshed-out line-up, The Third Sound released their fourth album All Tomorrow’s Shadows on Fuzz Club last week.
The Third Sound arrived back in 2011 with their self-titled debut. In 2013 this was followed up with their sophomore effort The Third Sound of Destruction and Creation and in 2016 LP3 Gospels of Degeneration was unleashed into the world. Recorded over the harsh Berlin winter, this album is their most refined collection to date and offers an exploration through various genres whilst not being confined to any. It takes on a more rhythmic approach than we’ve seen before, combining hypnotic guitar drones, motorik rhythms and haunting vocals. At times it recalls the dark psych sounds of The Seeds or White Light-era Velvet Underground and at others it sounds like a long-lost B side from Nick Cave’s back-catalogue.
Whilst out on a European tour a few years back Hákon met Anton Newcombe and upon moving to Berlin this friendship was cemented in stone and a number of collaborations would follow. Newcombe released the band’s self-titled debut album on his label ‘A’ Recordings and the two have continued to work together since. Hákon will be joining Brian Jonestown Massacre on guitar for all their 2018 tour-dates and also plays in the collaborative project between Newcombe and Canadian singer Tess Parks.
All Tomorrow’s Shadows was recorded by the band themselves in a suitably minimal basement studio, Hákon now collaborating more than ever on the new material – recruiting Robin Hughes on guitars, Antonio D’Orazio on bass and Fred Sunesen on drums.
They open ‘When We Finally Wake Up’, a track that builds as the minimalistic musical elements accompany powerful vocals. For over four minutes the anticipation rises until the fuzzy guitar kicks in in all its glory, hurling the track through to its completion. ‘Nine Miles Below’ channels California coast vibes with a buoyant guitar riff and subtle rhythm section. ‘New Messiah’ has an instantly darker feel with a haunting keys melody and evocative lyrics that show the origins of the band in Singapore Sling, who do this sound so well. ‘Bright Shining Lights’ lifts the mood, with lashings of reverb and delay as well as a jangly tambourine addition and ‘Half Alive’ channels some serious grooves with a stunning guitar and synth interplay that captivates and enthrals from the off.
‘No Exit on the Edge’ is an interesting track, with an intriguing combination of sounds that work in unison, a juxtaposition almost of light and dark meeting and the following tracks ‘Can Never Find Your Way Back’ and ;We’ll Be Together’ continue this theme creating a heady trio. ‘On Our Way to Desolation’ channels some Nick Cave vibes with added beauty before the album concludes with ‘Photographs’, where we see Anton and Hákon work together once again – with the BJM leader helming vocal duties. It is a great way to end the album, with a completely different feel to its predecessors and showcases the varying talents on display.
Having listened to this album a few times now, it gets better with each play as the finer details come to light. It contains so many influences and genres that it traverses them all, creating a sound entirely unique yet able to hint at so many other possibilities ensuring a wide audience will find something they cannot fail to like.