Third Class Goes Big on New Album

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Third Class doesn’t change its lyrical themes on its new album, “Haunted Until the Very End,” but it does try on a new and more immediate musical approach.

“It was an attempt to match our sound to our lyrics,” explains Lee Boyle, singer-songwriter for the Mahoning Valley-based indie rockers. “We’ve always done happy songs with sad lyrics. We level out [on the new album]. These lyrics have to do with bigger ideas. We’re making the music sound spiritual as well.”

The album, released today, is the band’s sixth studio effort. Third Class will perform it at a record release concert Oct. 30 at 10 p.m. at Cedars West End, with opening act The Berrys.

The first song on the album, a mournful dirge titled “Watch Our Souls,” begins with the plaintive and heavy strains of an organ. But the band then cleanses its palate with power guitar riffs – something it’s never been known for – on the next song, “Happiness Is My Favorite Thing.” The pattern continues throughout the album.

The band’s poetic lyrics frequently explore serious topics, often delving into memories, while the musical delivery has a bouncy sense of wonder. That’s still in evidence here, but there’s more of a connection between the two song elements.

“We kind of wanted to paint a clearer picture of everything,” Boyle said. “All of our albums are different and we never want to make the same album twice, but there are still signature things. We write about the same things, death, feeling haunted, eulogizing people, a lot. And we felt like maybe a more trippy or cosmic sound would serve the lyrics better.”

While recording the songs, the band gave its producers free reign to add sonic touches. “Halloween Begins,” for example, is embellished with spooky noise slaps before giving way to a heavy, sludgy electronic keyboard baseline.

“We felt we’d go all-in on more soundscapes,” Boyle said. “We never did that before. We wanted to go big for a change. We always sound so indie and we wanted to do something more stadium-sized this time.”

Boyle’s songs usually reflect his circumstances. That’s again the impetus behind the shift on the “Haunted” album, as he found himself again living in the home he grew up in.

“My wife and I moved back from Brooklyn to my childhood home and that was the catalyst,” he said. “My mom was battling Parkinson’s disease there. Facing mortality and being back in this house in East Palestine, I was a bit more focused on facing where we came from.”

Third Class has been together for two decades and with the same lineup. In addition to Boyle, the band includes  Pepe Parish (bass, vocals) and Jack Boyle (drums).

“Haunted Until the Very End” is the band’s first album since 2017’s “Virginia’s Playlist.” The new album was recorded earlier this year at Ampreon Recorder and Historian Recording, both in Youngstown.

Pictured: Third Class is, from left, Pepe Parish, Lee Boyle and Jack Boyle.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.