Blue Man Group – a theatrical tour-de-force with long-running shows in Las Vegas, New York, Berlin, Chicago, Boston and other cities, as well as occasional “World Tours” (so really there’s quite a few Blue Man Groups, or Blue Men Groups) – is also a recording artist. The Blue Man Group on record features some of the pieces from the show – this, the band’s third record (as the title tells us) features a handful of musical pieces from the current version of the stage-show as well as like-minded instrumentals. The surging rock-meets-electronica is the staple and the majority of the pieces are drum-heavy, finding room for the group’s signature PVC pipe, clanging metallic percussion and proto-blasts across roto-toms.
It’s nothing new – and perhaps nothing interesting if you’re not a fan of the group. But Third returns the group/concept to its debut album, Audio – where 2003’s The Complex was a guest-heavy concept album this is more about selling – and celebrating – the sound of the group. Soundscape-y pieces like Snorklebone suddenly burst into Stadium Rock life, The Forge manages to suit somewhere between Mike Oldfield and Jon Hopkins.
I’m a fan of the band, the show, the concept – and so I’m easily sold on this – garish, unsubtle and circus-like in the extreme I think Three is easily Blue Man Group’s best set of recordings, and best showcase for the dynamic maximalism the troupe offers. I’m probably alone in thinking that – but at least my thoughts have the perfect soundtrack. Hex Suite, Tone Spokes and Torus are all career highpoints for a group celebrating a quarter-century of baffling worldwide audiences into joyous submission.