3.2 - Third Impression,
I always felt that 3, the band formed by Keith Emerson, Carl Palmer and Robert Berry was tremendously under-rated and their solitary album a triumph (I also feel the same way about Emerson, Lake & Powell). Everyone was amazed when news came out that Berry and Emerson had been writing together again and there were plans for a new ‘3’ album as ‘3.2’. Sadly, that was never to be during Emerson’s lifetime, but Berry then sat down and recorded the planned album on his own, bringing their ideas to fruition and the result was the excellent ‘The Rules Have Changed.’ Most people think of Berry as a guitarist, singer and songwriter, yet he is a full-blown multi-instrumentalist, one of the very few who are an accomplished singer as well as musician.
No-one really expected another 3.2 album, but there was the small matter of “Never”, the last song written together by Keith and Robert, so what to do with it? The answer was to write and record another 3.2 album using sounds and styles which would have been approved by Keith and familiar to fans of his work, and yet again the result is superb. Listening to “What Side You’re On”, one would be hard pressed not to think of Keith as the keyboard sounds are exactly what one would expect from him. Berry has always approached music from a more commercial AOR manner than the classically inspired prog of Emerson, but here has reined in the more overt stylings which one can hear with his work with The Alliance and has again produced an album which could well have been a follow-up to the 1988 classic.
This is an album which any fan of the more commercial side of ELP, or 3, will surely love the first time of hearing. Also, Robert has now formed a touring band with keyboard player Andrew Colyer (Circuline), drummer/vocalist Jimmy Keegan from Spock's Beard, guitarist/vocalist Paul Keller, who toured with Keith, Robert, and Carl Palmer on the original '3' tour in 1988 with Robert providing bass and vocals. The live shows are bound to be epic, and perhaps a new album will follow, who knows? This is a sheer delight from beginning to end.