On their third CD, “Out of the Vein,” Third Eye Blind produces the same solid middle-of the road rock as on their previous discs. But they take their formula one step further for what is the San Francisco-based group’s most personal creation to date.
The album doesn’t provide any song as catchy as the group’s first single, 1997’s “Semi-Charmed Life.” Instead of churning out radio-ready singles, frontman Stephen Jenkins uses “Out of the Vein” as a “break-up album,” trying to figure out what went wrong in his relationship.
Jenkins turns to astrology on the impressive “Palm Reader,” admitting an addiction to hope provided by fortunetellers and horoscopes. Instrumentation takes a rare back seat in the chorus as Jenkins’ heartfelt entreaty that his girlfriend “Believe in me/and this lie/Tell me everything will be alright,” is allowed the attention it deserves.
The lack of an obvious standout means it’s necessary to listen closely to appreciate the album’s merits. One of those is “Crystal Baller,” which features a shimmering acoustic guitar and quiet, contemplative delivery from Jenkins.
“Out of the Vein” is not the place to look for the infectious, sing-a-long singles that tend to dominate summertime radio. Instead of producing potential summer anthems, Third Eye Blind has created excellent music for after the beach party ends.