While Slumber Party have mostly taken an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach to their dreamy sound, on the aptly named third album 3, the group does introduce a few small changes. Dion Fischer's warm, hazy production gives songs like "Air" a familiar, well-worn feel, but starting with "Electric Boots" -- on which Aliccia Berg intones "gotta put my boots on," evoking a blissed-out Nancy Sinatra instead of the usual Nico comparisons -- the emphasis is on the band's rock-oriented side. Indeed, "No Sleep Tonite" boasts some electric pianos and a fuzzed-out guitar that are definitely brighter and more energetic than Slumber Party's usual fare, but the song doesn't disturb the group's stylishly sleepy feel. "New Trouble" is one of the most ambitious songs the band has put to tape: a mix of stiff drum machines, rubbery guitars, distant laughter, and oddly disaffected singing, it definitely tweaks the band's usual formula. While lines like "Detroit's burning all around" could carry more menace, the song still has a winningly playful mischief. When Slumber Party do return to the poppier side of their sound, it's also brighter than usual, particularly on "Air" and the sleek, chilly "On T.V.," on which drums lazily punctuate blasé phrases like "If there was a silver lining to this cloud, we'd have found it by now." A few other embellishments decorate 3's sound: "Black Heart Road" adds a country twang to the band's jangle, "Drunk"'s strings make the song's sophisticated pop even lovelier, and the brass on "Behave" is a nice touch, making them sound like spectral Dusty Springfields instead of the Velvets. Most of the album -- and the band's work in general, for that matter -- is too distant and dreamy to fully embrace, although the bittersweet finale, "Why?," is an exception to the rule, using the band's foggy loveliness to its advantage. 3 may not be as cohesive as Slumber Party's previous albums, but it still shows some admirable growth within their sound.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares