In so many ways, 3 is like the flipside album to all those girly rock bands (think Donnas, etc) coming out lately. Not only does the cover art itself play down the appearences of the all-female squad (with portraits looking like they were scanned from the 10th generation photocopy of a bad picture in the first place), but the music itself isn't flambouant either. These females aren't talking about chugging beers and playing videogames with their underage boyfriends before peeling out in the parking lot of the local War Mart in their Trans Am (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course).
Okay, so there is a somewhat cute photo collage of the members of the band all pointing guns at a stylized heart inside the liner notes, but it doesn't take away from the fact that Slumber Party is actually quite a fitting name for the group. It's not that they induce sleep, but their music definitely feels like it was created for the night. It's as much inspired by garage rock as it is early rock n roll by people like Ritchie Valens and Roy Orbison. Heck, if some of the rough edges were smoothed out a bit, I could actually imagine the group playing a prom circa 1955.
Opening with "Electric Boots," the group rocks ever so nicely, and in addition to making you feel comfortable with multi-part vocal harmonies, they mix in a fair dose of piano and organ to their warm guitar-driven tracks. "No Sleep Tonight" jangles along in a nice way, feeling sort of like a female update and take on Velvet Underground's "I'm Waiting For The Man" while "Your Friends" glistens with twanging stereo guitar melodies. They even throw in a bit of the old-time country feel on tracks like "Black Heart Road."
It's no surprise that about half the tracks were recorded with Warn Defever. The man who produced and had a hand in so many great releases on the 4AD label (by groups such as His Name As Alive and others) adds a warm touch to a good batch of the tracks and the effect is that overall the album doesn't feel like something that was released in 2003. I actually mean that last track as a compliment, because although the group dips their toes into lots of different genres, the entire release has sort of a gauzy feel that makes it sound like it could have been released anytime in the last couple decades. Part David Lynch soundtrack, part garage rock, and part rockabilly, 3 is a great little album from a group without a gimmick in a world full of female bands who unfortunately sometimes seem to have to rely on one.