Album review

3 Doors Down : Away From The Sun
Republic / Universal

3 Doors Down : Away From The SunThe road has been long for the 3 Doors Down fans waiting on the hard shoulder for Away From The Sun to come along and pick them up. The patience has been rewarded as the champions of saturated riffs and overloaded bass lines deliver another outstanding album that proves their 1999 debut The Better Life was far from a fluke.

The opening track and single When I'm Gone echoes the intensity of Kryptonite from the subdued opening to the upsurge of guitars that flood the chorus; all welded together by a beguiling melody.
    Here Without You demonstrates a clear gear change in their songwriting mentality; with string arrangements and a modest guitar churning out a riff in the background, all building up to a crest in a way that narrowly avoids the familiar 'rock band doing a slow song' cliché.
    Away From The Sun's authentic finish is owed to the album's producer, Rick Parashar, who has previously worked with Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. As a result of the production, there is an unprocessed streak throughout the 11 tracks, reaching a peak with the acoustic comedown that rounds off Running Out Of Days and the ambitious solo on I Feel You. The whole album has a distinctly original edge in comparison to it's predecessor.

Away From The Sun is a fitting title for an album which, along with the recurrent theme of solitude, exhibits a darker side to the band. For example; the lyrics to The Road I'm On are typical of the mood found throughout: "What you thought was real in life, somehow steered you wrong. And now you just keep drivin', trying to find out where you belong. I know you feel helpless now, and I know you feel alone." Vocalist Brad Arnold wrote most of the album whilst on the road, claiming, "On tour you really have nothing but time on your hands, I was feeding off those feelings of isolation."
Although these themes surface repeatedly, they are not overbearing to the extent that the lyrics are polluted with doom and gloom; instead they give the record a well-defined fluency. Whilst 3 Doors Down may be away from the sun, gut instinct combined with the 11 tracks on this album would suggest that they will not be in the shade for long, metaphorically speaking of course.

:: Paul Newbold

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