|The Three O'Clock –– The Hidden World Revealed (2013)|
The Three O'Clock –– The Hidden World Revealed
± After 25 years of turning down reunion offers, The Three O'Clock finally reformed after being presented with a chance to play at the 2013 Coachella festival. Three quarters of the "Classic" line-up, Michael Quercio (vocals/bass), Louis Gutierrez (guitars) & Danny Benair (drums) — were joined by new recruit Adam Merrin (keyboards). The group played both weekends of the Coachella festival, and also played on Conan on April 10, 2013. They later embarked on a mini-tour, and released several archival recordings that same year. The final show was at Fingerprints record store in Long Beach California on 6/24/13.
Location: Los Angeles, U.S.
Album release: June 25, 2013
Recording date: 1981
Record Label: Omnivore Recordings
01. All In Good Time 2:20
02. With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend 2:52
03. In Love In Too 3:16
04. Stupid Einstein 2:19
05. Lucifer Sam 3:07
06. Rodney On The ROQ Commercial 0:32
07. Jet Fighter 3:25
08. When Lightening Starts (Alternate Version) 3:52
09. Sound Surrounds (Demo) 3:41
10. Around The World 3:24
11. On My Own (With Strings) 2:55
12. I Go Wild (Alternate Version) 3:02
13. In My Own Time (Alternate Version) 2:05
14. Why Cream Curdles In Orange Tea 3:16
15. A Day In Erotica (Alternate Version) 4:26
16. Jennifer Only (Home Demo) The Salvation Army 2:09
17. The Girl With The Guitar (Says Oh Yeah) (Demo) 2:43
18. Seeing Is Believing 4:33
19. Regina Caeli 4:07
20. Feel A Whole Lot Better 2:22
± Michael Ackerman Project Assistant
± Greg Allen Art Direction, Design
± Steven Altenberg Guitar
± Syd Barrett Composer
± Danny Benair Composer, Drums, Liner Notes
± Audrey Bilger Project Assistant
± John Blazing Guitar
± Gene Clark Composer
± Dutch Cramblitt Project Assistant
± Lisa Fancher Project Assistant
± Bryan George Licensing
± Barry Gibb Composer
± Robin Gibb Composer
± Louis Gutierrez Composer, Guitar, Liner Notes, Vocals
± Chris Haston Photography
± Troy Howell Drums
± Bill Inglot Mastering, Producer
± Ethan James Producer
± Lee Lodyga Project Assistant
± Eileen Lucero Editorial
± Earle Mankey Producer
± Mike Mariano Composer, Keyboards, Vocals
± Julie Masi Project Assistant
± Scott Miller Composer
± Cheryl Pawelski Project Assistant
± Michael Quercio Arranger, Bass, Composer, Liner Notes, Vocals
± Brad Rosenberger Project Assistant
± Steve Stanley Project Assistant
± John Strother Engineer
± Pat Thomas Producer
± Traditional Composer
± Terry Wilson Engineer
© Chris Maston
± Back in the early 1980s, The Three O’Clock created a unique sound by drawing 1960s Top 40 and psychedelic elements into power pop arrangements. Some of their songs, particularly on early efforts like the Baroque Hoedown EP and full-length debut Sixteen Tambourines, had a delicate beauty reminiscent of The Bee Gees. Back then, vocalist-bassist Mike Quercio and guitarist-vocalist Louis Gutierrez co-wrote most of the material. The Three O’Clock, along with other L.A.-based bands like The Bangles and The Rain Parade, were part of a movement Quercio and his mates dubbed The Paisley Underground.
± The Three O’Clock has resurfaced in the past year, with a live gig at Coachella, and an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s TV show. The nondescriptly packaged (other than the green vinyl) Live At The Waldorf (recorded in 1983) was one of this year’s Record Store Day treasures, and now Omnivore Recordings has released The Hidden World Revealed. The 20 tracks, which were originally recorded between 1981 and ‘86, include demos, alternate takes, and a promo for a local radio station. While it doesn’t offer all the great songs The Three O’Clock released over its career, it does provide a fascinating snapshot of the band in its earliest days.
± “Stupid Einstein” might be the best example of a Three O’Clock song that should have topped the charts. Opening with the pensive line, “Things went oh so wrong today,” it’s irresistibly catchy and perfectly suited to its era. Like Scott Miller of Game Theory and Mitch Easter of Let’s Active, Quercio and Gutierrez excelled at composing exquisite melodies. And like those bands, The Three O’Clock could also crank up the energy level. “Jet Fighter” and “With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend” hit harder while retaining the band’s signature sound.
± The experimental “A Day In Erotica,” appearing on Hidden World in an alternate version, and the Latin hymn “Regina Caeli” show The Three O’Clock’s willingness to push past its own boundaries, while the previously unreleased demo, “Sounds Surrounds” is absolutely Vaudeville with a peppy keyboards arrangement. “Lucifer Sam” has a classic new wave feel that evokes The Cure, while “The Girl With Guitar,” widely believed to be about Susanna Hoffs from The Bangles, has a spare but beautiful arrangement. “Why Cream Curdles in Orange Tea” sounds disjointed and strained, making it the collection’s only disappointment.
± Elsewhere, The Three O’Clock offers faithful and energetic versions of The Bee Gees’ “My Own Time” and The Byrds’ “Feel A Whole Lot Better.” There’s also a brief plug for legendary DJ Rodney Bingenheimer, whose KROQ radio program provided an early (and possibly the only) showcase of The Paisley Underground.
________________________________________________________________ © Chris Maston
Review by Tim Sendra; Score: ****
± The Three O'Clock were one of the mainstays of the paisley underground sound that was born (and quickly died) in Los Angeles in the mid-'80s, probably the poppiest of the bunch, and their 1983 album, Sixteen Tambourines, is a psych pop classic. They were never wrapped up in trying to recapture the sound of '60s psych, though; they were more interested in updating it and giving it a personal twist that came through in the perfect arrangements that weren't afraid to use modern instruments and effects and Michael Quercio's impossibly twee yet never insufferable vocals. The band's Danny Benair spent nearly a decade trying to put together a collection of their recordings for reissue, and 2013's The Hidden World Revealed is the result. Taking tracks from the band's two records for Frontier (Sixteen Tambourines and 1982's fantastic Baroque Hoedown EP) along with alternate mixes, early takes, and some rarities, the collection paints a picture of the band at an early stage of its short career. More an impressionistic portrait than a detailed view, the predominance of unreleased and rare tracks means that someone coming to the band for the first time gets a skewed picture of its sound. It includes the original versions of some of the band's most well-known songs, like "With a Cantaloupe Girlfriend" and "Jet Fighter," but the alternate take of "I Go Wild" does a disservice to the neophyte. Alternately, do fans who know their records inside and out need to hear tracks from them again instead of more from the vaults? As it is, it feels like this compilation is trying to balance between a rarities collection and a hits collection, neither of which it succeeds at fully. The best case scenario would have been a double-disc set with the official records on disc one and a full set of rarities on disc two. That being said, the rarities Benair does include are impressive, ranging from the fan club-only single "In Love in Too" (which is the equal to anything on either the EP or album), a chimingly good version of the Byrds' "Feel a Whole Lot Better" that features David Roback of the Rain Parade on guitar, the jumping rocker "All in Good Time," and an early demo of "Sound Surrounds," a song that made it onto the band's underrated Arrive Without Travelling album. The alternate takes are slightly less impressive, but still worth checking out. "In My Own Time" without horns, "On My Own" with strings, a rough take on "When Lightning Starts" — these are all a treat for longtime fans and make the set essential. And really, despite its flaws, the collection is essential whether you are just catching on to the Three O'Clock due to their reunion, or have been with them since their days as the Salvation Army. Psych pop doesn't get any better than the Three O'Clock, and even a flawed release is worth celebrating.
Artist Biography by Denise Sullivan
± Sixteen Tambourines/Baroque HoedownThe Three O'Clock were the quintessential L.A. paisley underground band. Lead singer and bassist Michael Quercio in fact coined the term to describe the set of bands, including the Dream Syndicate, Rain Parade, Green On Red, and the Bangles, who incorporated the chiming guitars of the Byrds and the Beatles into their pop songs with a psychedelic bent, and the clothes to match. Beginning as the Salvation Army in 1982 as a three-piece and forsaking the name due to a conflict with the actual organization, The Three O'Clock originally included Quercio and guitarist Louis (formerly Gregg) Gutierrez. The band plied a garagey sound on its self-titled debut in 1982. When ex-Weirdos drummer Danny Benair and keyboardist Mickey Mariano joined for the follow-up EP Baroque Hoedown and the LP Sixteen Tambourines in 1983 (both released by Frontier Records), the band found a more polished, perfect pop sound.
± Ever After In 1985 they released Arrive Without Travelling for I.R.S., followed by Ever After. Gutierrez departed in 1986. For their Warner Bros./Paisley Park debut (Prince was a fan), Vermillion, Jason Falkner was added on guitar. Sadly, it proved to be their undoing, as they never really fulfilled the label's expectations and Quercio refused to be pigeonholed as a pretty-boy pop star or spokesperson for the premature retro revival. Quercio continues to play in L.A. pop bands, while Gutierrez became a principal member of Mary's Danish, and Falkner is a solo recording artist. After years of turning down offers to reunite, the original lineup of the band (minus Mariano, who was replaced by Adam Merrin of the 88) re-formed to play the 2013 Coachella Festival. ± Soon after, Omnivore Records released The Hidden World Revealed, a collection of album tracks and rarities from the years with Frontier.
|The Three O'Clock –– The Hidden World Revealed (2013)|