Channel 3 – Put Em Up Album Review.
Play: Channel 3 – Put Em up
Like many bands around the world Channel 3 or CH3 if you prefer were born out of the declining communities that the band members grew up in, fighting boredom, oppression and poverty this is enough for any young angry adolescent to find a stage to shout on. Their early days had limited success but gradually grew with time, that time has now spanned 37 years from forming in 1980. The mid 80’s were a good time for Channel 3 enjoying successful releases and also touring with the likes of Red Hot Chilli Peppers, moving away from their original Punk sound enabled them to find new audiences with a slightly more Rock influenced style. Now they are back with a purpose and a more hardened edge for their first album in 15 years, and succeed in combining both punk and rock without it sounding like an MTV advert.
“Put Em Up” is an album that lets you know this bands been together for some time, its tight and polished but not to the extent of being mainstream radio fodder. The rattle of the drums for the first few seconds to “Model Citizen” gets your attention, the guitar introduces a distant cry before the song gets into full flow with restrained power from beginning to end, not quite unleashing that energy but you know it’s there bubbling under the surface. Following on is “Water and Time” an undoubtedly American song with a sing along melodic chorus, this would fit in nicely on a long drive through those American highways stopping at bars and diners. It’s a softer side to Channel 3 no doubt, but they don’t claim to be another Punk Rock band full of angst and aggression although do they have their moments which I for one would prefer more of. The title track “Put Em Up” is also a slower tempo but it has an eeriness undercurrent running through it, there is a grizzly bass line that at times is snarling at the constant drum beat with a haunting slightly psychedelic guitar of real atmosphere flowing in the song. The vocal is very assertive in its demands for you to “Put Em Up”, and those of a weaker disposition may just be listening to this track with hands aloft in the discomfort of their own home. An excellent Ramones-esque intro starts “She Never Wanted It This Way” which wouldn’t look out of place on a pop punk bands set list, a bouncy track that has the harmonies, guitar solos and change of tempo which is easy listening, however, to be honest I expected something special after the great Intro and never got it from the rest of the song. The next track “Half the Day” and the cover of “Blue Skies” is where I can see the confusion with Channel 3, there is no doubt they have something going on but it seems to be hidden at times amongst a few different styles of music. The slower tempo songs with softer lyrical delivery just don’t have the quality I’m looking for after hearing the other tracks on the album. I may just not have an ear for these two tunes which are not bad, they just don’t fit and have shades of some County music in “Half the Day”. The heavier Rock N Roll sound of “Take Me to Your Leader” is much more pleasing to my ear, with a higher tempo that rattles out a tune like Channel 3 can do, with the drummer on a gallon of energy juice building the song up to a singalong chorus. This style not only suits the band’s music but also the vocals seem more at home, bringing the album to a close on a high.
Put Em Up has some undoubted highlights on it showing just how good a band Channel 3 are, with not only the title track exciting the listener but a few others meeting the mark. Although they have one foot in the American Rock camp that for me dilutes their true energy and sound, they do have some tunes to which I would part with some hard earned cash for.