Album review: 3.2 – The Rules Have Changed

Pete Feenstra chatted to Robert Berry for an hour special broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio in November 2018.

3.2 - The Rules Have Changed

Frontiers [Release date 10.08.18]

3 were formed back in 1987 by Robert Berry and Keith Emerson and Carl Palmer, both of ELP fame. The band’s album ‘…To The Power Of Three’ was released on Geffen in 1988 and it yielded a hit with ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout’, however the band folded a year later in 1989 and that was thought to be the last we’d hear from the band.

However, in 2015 conversations started between the record label Frontiers and Keith Emerson and Robert Berry about another 3 album (Carl Palmer was off at this time working on other projects). But in early 2016 when Keith Emerson took his own life it seemed that the new 3 album would never see the light of day.

After a period of mourning, however, Berry became inspired, and began to complete the work that he and Emerson had begun. The result is this album which is released under the name 3.2. It features Berry singing and playing all of the instruments, with four songs that were written with (and partially arranged by) Keith Emerson.

The songs have that 3 feel and sound, from the jazz interludes on ‘One By One’ (a Keith Emerson co-write) through to the parptastic keys on ‘Somebody’s Watching’, Berry has certainly captured the 3 sound again.

‘This Letter’ is different, a song written by Berry, which is heartfelt and works well with the acoustic arrangement. The song also features an accordion and a lovely synths vs. piano play off.

Highlights include the aforementioned ‘Somebody’s Watching’ and ‘Powerful Man’, the latter crosses over to melodic rock territory and Berry’s other band the excellent and underrated Alliance.

You have to give credit to Berry for going all out on his keyboards playing – perhaps a drummer would have been good to give a little more power to the odd song. A fitting farewell to the great musician Keith Emerson. If you enjoyed the 3 album this is a ‘must have’, a melodic based prog delight. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 4 August 2020.


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