Third Rail

ID Music

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The Third Rail are best remembered today because their closest brush with hit-single status, 1967's "Run Run Run," appeared on Lenny Kaye's pioneering original Nuggets compilation in 1972. But while that album was the shot that kicked off the great garage rock revival, the Third Rail's music was a far better example of the glorious products of the pop music factory that was the Brill Building rather than teenage rock & roll run wild and free. Group founder Artie Resnick was a seasoned pro in the music biz, having written "Under the Boardwalk" and "Good Lovin'," and vocalist and co-writer Joey Levine was a teenaged pop prodigy who (like Resnick) would later become a major player in Buddah Records' mighty bubblegum empire a few years down the line. But in 1967, Levine was just a bit too clever for his own good, which is a big part of the pleasure of the Third Rail's sole album, ID Music. Like "Run Run Run," ID Music is filled with witty social commentary that is surprisingly enjoyable despite the fact it's more than a bit dated all these years later, and the songcraft is both clever and extremely pleasurable, especially on the baroque pop "The Invisible Man," the willfully goofy "She Ain't No Choir Girl," and the Madison Avenue takeoff "Dream Street." While ID Music's songs, production, and performances are all buffed to a high gloss, the craft and the intelligence of the music is a delight throughout, and its attempts at lyrical subversion only add to the fun, especially when one knows Levine would eventually go over to the other side and enjoy a very successful career writing commercial jingles. A very amusing product of its times.

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