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THIRD EYE BLIND RETURNS WITH ALBUM OF THE YEAR

OUT OF THE VEIN
Third Eye Blind
4 stars out of 4

....

The rumors are true. Third Eye Blind is not dead. "Out of the Vein," the band's first album in 3 1/2 years, is worth all the wait that fans have suffered through. It has every bit of three years' worth of intensity packed into a sonic-booming 13-track masterpiece.

The first question to be answered is, naturally, "What took so long?"

For starters, guitarist Kevin Cadogen left the band. He was replaced by Tony Fredianelli, whose style brings a new and exciting, yet recognizable sound to this San Francisco-based band. Secondly, lead singer Stephen Jenkins let his perfectionist instincts trump fan and label pressures to release the album as soon as possible. Originally slated to be released last September, "Out of the Vein" has an incredibly beautiful, polished sound that comes from months of extra mixing, although the monthly postponements of the release date were like kitchen knives in the backs of committed fans like me.

The next question would have to be, "What makes this album so amazing that we should give this reincarnated band a second chance?" First reason: The opening track "Faster" and subsequent tracks "Crystal Baller," "My Hit and Run," and "Can't Get Away" (which my friend Ben refers to as this album's "Semi-Charmed Life"). Each of these tracks can and hopefully will be a hit single, although "Blinded" is the first radio single. "Faster" is a fast, rocking ballad, that ebbs like the tide and climaxes with the intensity of "Anything."

Second reason: Stephen Jenkins' lyrics are, as before, still the best in today's pop musik (in my humble opinion). Covering many topics, but with particular focus on an ex-girlfriend and Stephen's loss and rediscovery of identity, his lyrics give the listener much to think about. One never knows what Jenkins will say next, as he eloquently proves in "Palm Reader" with the line, "Freud said that love was a good psychosis, but I don't know I've had too many doses. He's a creep and we all know that he probably made it up."

In my opinion, this is hands down the best album of the year. "Out of the Vein" contains a bonus DVD with 22 minutes of behind-the-scenes filming of the band "Hiding Out" while recording this album. Also, an EP of the bonus material recorded for this album will be out soon, but one should start by going out and picking up this long-awaited masterpiece. You won't regret it.

Michael Snodgrass is a senior at Olean High School.

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