Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3RD NATION-Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1996)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: September 23, 2015

There was the Estonian dance group called NOISY NATION.....and then there was the Finnish dance group called 3RD NATION, whom a recent trek into the Eurodance genre allowed me to encounter. And now I'm inviting you to make that trek back there with me, as I present their rarity of a second album, "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind". Of course, this shouldn't be confused with the 1977 sci-fi film by the same name (have I even watched it before?), but one could say that my acquisition of the album did involve a 'close encounter' of sorts, linking up with somebody from the Scandinavian mainland. I was like almost DYING to get this, as I usually am whenever I discover something new that I could potentially add to my 90's dance collection, but especially so because there's a couple of soulful male vocalists at the mic, which is a rarity itself within the dance genre. Besides, I gotta have some variety in my music listenings! Standing firm and tall on top of the world is the opener, "Stand Up", which is your classic get-up-and-move house cut that stands the test of time, as my ears and I felt right at home with it! Speaking of standing firm—I myself stand firm on the statement that I believe the follow-up cut was surely a big hit for these guys. A disco groovy house rhythm is all I needed to get hooked to this one, which had me saying soon after the song ended 4+ minutes later that I soooooooooooo need a long extended remix! It's all real house music on the cut after that one: "Real Love", where the groovy gets mixed with a cool 80's-sounding synthesizing layered beneath the beat for infectious ear appeal. 'Everybody's gotta have one', as the simple lyrics sung by the booming voice of the guy on lead vocals reminds. More simple yet meaningful words of tenderness and are delivered on the album's first slow jam, "One More Chance", a song of reconciliation where the Finnish duo shows off a bit of their sweet soulful harmony. And now that I have slow jams on my mind, I should go ahead and nominate the concluding cut, "Baby Come Lay", as your next 'Slow Jam Of The Night'. If the title doesn't indicate that the theme is a an evening of romancing and love-making, then the seductive groove, the soothing vocals and the dreamy melody will do the convincing for you. The beats swing back up when shades of that memorable urban new jack swing era swing around on a pair of mid-tempo cuts: "Do Me Right" and "Hold On", which add further variety and balance on this close encounter with 3RD NATION. But it's the dance cuts here that rock my world, and sandwiched between that pair is the thrilling trio of "Better Than You" (I had gotten that uh-oh, I-feel-a-mega-dance-groove-comin'-on feeling the very moment I heard that first synthesized jazzy riff in the introductory movement, and that feeling would be right on target!), "Joy & Happiness" (and this one does give me joy and happiness, because I love the hook and the cool arrangement of the beats!) and "Give Your Love To Me" (I couldn't help but to love the instrumental jazz break midway, but the whole long is great!). My first encounter with these 3RD NATION guys tonight was quite brief, but I'll be hanging around in orbit for a while and look forward to the next time I rendezvous with them again:
1. Stand Up
2. I Believe [Radio Version]
3. Real Love
4. One More Chance
5. Give Me Your Love
6. Do Me Right
7. Better Than You [JJ's Radio]
8. Joy & Happiness
9. Give Your Love To Me
10. Hold On
11. Baby Come Lay

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