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Album review: 3OH!3, "Streets of Gold"

By Sean Fennessey

3OH!3 will never be subtle - "I'm gonna have a house party / in my house," the two men in 3OH!3 shout on "House Party." "I'm gonna pour booze / down my mouth" - but that's rarely the point.

This knucklehead Boulder, Colo., duo specializes in a curious hybrid that is equal parts electro, emo, hip-hop and mook rock. Picture yourself in a club that is slowly morphing into a mosh pit, then, after uncomfortable touching, a therapy session. Most 3OH!3 songs slot in snugly between the ingenues who have dominated the pop charts lately - Ke$ha, Katy, Gaga. "Streets of Gold," their third album, offers surprising changes - like the introduction of mutant-style thug balladry - but they've hardly abandoned their base: bros and party girls.

Nathaniel Motte and Sean Foreman have proven themselves cheeky stylists with quips that frequently devolve into misogyny; the particularly vivid Helen Keller shoutout on "Don't Trust Me," their smash from 2008's "Want," has become a calling card. And that's not gone on "Streets's" thudding, synthetic jock jams like "I Can Do Anything" and "Deja Vu." So hearing them sing mournfully about lost love on "R.I.P." and "I'm Not the One" is a startling and not totally convincing shift.

Still, this is a group that excels when no one is listening to what they're saying, only to how they sound, which is always committed and fearlessly grand. "I Know How to Say" and the Dr. Luke-produced title track are guileless, undeniable pop songs. There's little depth to any of it, but then, who cares about such things anyway?

Recommended Tracks: "I Know How To Say," "Streets of Gold"

By David Malitz  |  June 29, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Quick spins  | Tags: 3OH!3  
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Next: Album review: Scissor Sisters, "Night Work"

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