Album Reviews

3OH!3 – Streets Of Gold

(Atlantic) UK release date: 19 July 2010

Streets Of Gold arrives as its singles are already embedded in the club-goer’s psyche. Colorado duo Nat Motte and Sean Foreman have arguably earned their stripes for their deliciously ironic collaboration with Katy Perry, the queen of tongue-in-cheek, while Don’t Trust Me couldn’t fail to amuse with lines like “Tell your boyfriend if he says he’s got beef/ That I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t fucking scared of him.” The pertinent question is whether their album delivers on early promise.

Unfortunately, it completely bombs. Once you’ve waded through the testosterone-swamp of opening instrumental Beaumont you are rewarded with mediocre I Can Do Anything – which gives the overwhelming impression of a poor man’s Eminem.

Divisive new single My First Kiss is… well, divisive, but this is what teen pop ought to sound like – sex-obsessed, revelling in its trashiness, shaped by the duo’s catchy driving bass and plenty of sing-along ooh-ing. Ke$ha has no musical talent, but has finally been assigned a role that requires her to demonstrate none. All she has to do is talk slutty, and she excels.

But then comes the musical desert that is the middle of the album. Take a handful of throbbing off-beat synths, whisk in quirky sound effects, beat with snappy drums, garnish with a hefty dollop of ooh-ing and woah-ing and you’ve got yourself a standard 3OH!3 album track. This recipe is liberally reapplied to Double Vision, See You Go and the woeful D�j� Vu. Not sufficiently souped-up, the ooh-ing and woah-ing serves no recognisable function other than to make up for the lack of syllables in a lyrically-empty disaster.

Indeed, the lyrics are generally unimaginative, sacrificing any shred of credibility to chase the cheap rhyme. We don’t ask for poetry, but expect better than “Show me yours I’ll show you mine, don’t you worry you’re too fine” from seedy number Touchin On My, whose disgusting bass line and slow sweeping drums make this the perfect soundtrack for drunken groping on a badly-lit, VK-stained dancefloor.

House Party begins insightfully: “Gonna have a house party in my house, I’m gonna pour some booze down my mouth.” Schizophrenic synths grate horribly against the irritating whining of an airhorn. There’s a limit to how much of the call-and-response we can tolerate (“Everybody say fuck the DJ… FUCK THE DJ!”) and once the boys have “fucked” everything we finally realise that there really was a “better place to go” and that we’re never going to get back the previous three minutes of our lives.

I’m Not The One begins with the promise of a piano and a half-decent cheesy ballad, but the lads just couldn’t leave out the breakbeat drumming and driving synths, not even for one track. The result? A disappointing missed opportunity, musical overkill, a track which doesn’t really know whether it’s coming or going.

Yet it’s not all dreadful. RIP’s wistful harmonies deliver a modicum of feeling, while Love 2012 is a well-produced, judiciously stripped-down number with a rare glimmer of profundity (“This is the eve of I don’t believe.”) Meanwhile, I Know How To Say is a good candidate for the next single. A decent dose of good-old-fashioned rock and roll gives a much-needed kick – the return of the coyly ironic, danceably thrusting 3OH!3 we’re used to.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough to save Streets Of Gold. We know 3OH!3 can be entertaining and danceable, but too many tracks seem rushed, unenthusiastic and even boring. We only have modest expectations when it comes to our guilty pleasures, so it’s doubly disappointing when they fail to deliver.

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3OH!3 – Streets Of Gold