Third Eye Blind, "Ursa Major"

62 Billboard Rating

After a few false starts and pushed-back release dates, Third Eye Blind's fourth full-length release, "Ursa Major," will finally see the daylight. Six years have passed since the release of the rock band's last album, "Out of the Vein," but the new set finds the group is still writing upbeat and off-kilter pop songs. The first single, "Don't Believe a Word," is outwardly political yet vintage Third Eye Blind, complete with singer/guitarist Stephan Jenkins' trademark hip-hop-cadenced verses and a fist-pumping singalong chorus. "Bonfire" and "Summer Town" are breezy, bouncy anthems, while the slow burner "Monotov's Private Opera" combines delicate acoustic guitar with pitter-patter percussion and Jenkins' hushed vocals. It's ultimately encouraging to hear the singer declare, "Let's start a riot, me and you/'Cause a riot's overdue," on the album opener "Can You Take Me"-proof that the band hasn't lost its swagger. "Ursa Major" isn't Third Eye Blind's crowning jewel, but it's a welcome return to form after such a lengthy hiatus. --Evan Lucy

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