Lodged firmly between the jangling pop of like the Bats and the noisier sounds of bands like Bailter Space, 3Ds occupy an interesting place in the New Zealand scene. Made up of former members of Look Blue Go Purple (jangle) and Snapper (noise), the band started in 1988 and went on to release many fine records that always split the difference between pop and art in a very listenable way. Early Recordings 1989-90 collects their first two EPs, Fish Tales and Swarthy Tales for Swabs, plus eight lo-fi demos and illuminating liner notes from Bruce Russell of the Dead C. Hearing the early EPs in this context shows how well the band’s sound was defined even at the beginning. The twin guitar attack of the David’s Mitchell and Saunders, the vocal interplay between Mitchell and Denise Roughan (his yelping versus her sweetness), and the strength of the songs combine into something, if not quite unique, at least very powerful and exciting. It’s no wonder the band ended up on Merge and that Pavement were big enough fans to invite the briefly reunited group to play the ATP they curated. Anyone who wonders what the best indie rock sounded like in 1990 would do well to pick up this disc.
AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra