3 For The Fire is a bit of an interesting band, besides being led by a blind man (which really doesn't do anything for the music, but it is an interesting side-note), their debut, self-titled, album progresses in sound and style in a cyclical way. Beginning with one style, shifting through two more, before returning to their original. With this variance of sounds, my interest in the album is very split. Overall it's decent, but certain parts are great while others fall behind the pack. But it's interesting throughout, and that is notable.
The first point I must make, about their sound, is that the entire record falls clearly within the stoner category; it's full of fuzz and groove, and could be on any enthusiasts collection and not stand out of place. That being said, the album itself moves through at least three distinct styles of stoner; from a funk/blues to a progressive sound (my favorite), then a dirty rock 'n roll, and back once more to the funk/blues. There is a little for everyone, but not enough for fans of any one genre.
The first few tracks of 3 For The Fire, and thereby the last couple of tracks, remind me very much of 311. The songs are bouncy, funky, and the vocals have that kind of pop that Nick Hexum (the singer of 311) is known for. The songs are seemingly quick and simple (although they are all over four minutes in length), without much depth pertaining to the music or vocals.
After these three tracks we come to the opus of the album, the three part....something. No where I look can I find an overall title of these three tracks, they are all just labeled, "Part I Agent Orange," "Part II Roy G Biv" (the best song on the album), and "Part III Chaos & Order." These songs are progressive, with lots of layering and unique vocal cues and parts. This triad is what made me start taking the band seriously, as "Agent Orange" and "Roy G Biv" are both amazing works of art. By the third, "Chaos & Order," the unit seems to dwindle a bit, as the song doesn't seem as focused as the others. Maybe this is the point, with a name like "Chaos & Order" you can't really be sure.
After the progressive era, the band reverts to a standard stoner rock band, a little more straight forward then their first few tracks, but once again sound uninspired when compared to the previous three. This continues for two or three tracks until the sound reverts back to the 311-sounding style. The album makes a neat little circle in this way. I could see listening to the whole thing on repeat, and never really noticing where the ending and beginning truly are.
In my mind, while all four styles have their ups and downs, the progressive triad of songs are the stand-out points of 3 For The Fire. They are by far the most unique of the entire disc, and really have the most energy as well. I could easily see releasing these tracks on a single/EP to drum up some interest in the band, or even splitting the entire album into three EPs, one for each stylistic change. As I type this the thought pops into my head; that maybe they recorded/wrote these songs at different parts in their career, focusing on three songs for a bit before working on the next few. That would make the most sense to me, with the wide varying of sound throughout the entire disc. Just a thought, I wish there was someone I could ask...
If you are a light fan of stoner, by that I mean you listen to a couple of bands or albums but don't dive too deep into the genre pool, then 3 For The Fire's debut, self-titled, album will be right up your alley. It spans several subgenres of the subgenre, holding onto each one for only two or three tracks before moving on, giving you a taste of each and nothing more. If you are a die-hard fan of any one style more then the others, you will find parts of the album enjoyable, while others you will just skip right over. I can't decide for you, who is to say what is right? All I know is that it's an act with a future, and if they could choose a style or form to follow, they could be so much more. Right now, however, they are an interesting road-bump on the highway of stoner, nothing to get out and check the tires for, but something to at least glance at as you pass over.