HB3’s debut album Luminosity is either a fine achievement by an artist who looks at something and thinks “how can I abuse the hell out of this” or staggering work from a man hell bent on channeling Zappa’s spirit through song. HB3 is a freak rock enigma with a piccolo bass and probably a shit ton of gadgets and do-dads enabling the luminous nirvana on this debut.
A press release almost ruined my enjoyment of the record; it was filled with lie that that led me to expect some childish and obtuse Zappa knockoff. I was not in the mood for a jokester attempting to playfully shove pig shit in my ears.
“Turkish Delight” slightly confirmed my fears as, HB3 was nearly unintelligible except for the chorus. But denying the catchiness of the droning fuzzed out guitars proved difficult. It was “Rom, Spaceknight,” which starts out in Beastie Boys “So Whatcha Want” territory and warps into Homework that earned my trust.
HB3 excels most at setting up funky drum break beats to coax along his sometimes elaborate, head nodding production. It recalls a Check Your Head Beasties or early Beck, back when it sounded like somewhere between freak folk and hip hop.
But, HB3 drags with style, too much style. On “Power Is An Issue” he speaks as an A&R pitching his label who sounds like the “Fitter Happier” robot. It has a solid backing track, but ultimately seems unnecessary. HB3 has the knack for a well-placed guitar soliloquy, but after nine songs that clock in anywhere from four to seven minutes in length, it gets old.
Despite the drag in which HB3 loses himself, with excessively long songs and guitar solos, Luminosity is far from a drag of a record. He pulls staples of several genres into his quirky songs, proving he has the potential to go further than Zappa never got the chance to go.