Press Play: Thirdstory
June 9, 2015
With the Biblical flood of success for pop-cultural phenoms like “Glee” and Pitch Perfect, it seems the genuine beauty behind a good A cappella has gotten lost somewhere amongst the fray of catchy covers. And although true vocal talent has found a comfortable home in the land of Youtube and the internets, it really is a rarity when a voice makes your hairs rise in unison, your face the “surprised” emoji personified. That’s how I felt when my ears were first graced with the presence of Thirdstory.
‘Twas a fine winter morning, my Facebook feed the usual melange of heated political arguments, Kanye West rants, and Beyoncé “YASS QUEEN”s peppered in with a cat video or two, when a still of three well-dressed gentlemen caught my eye. Being both curious and, well let’s face it, a fan of attractive and talented men, I clicked on the video: a cover of Sam Smith’s “I’m Not the Only One” (which was enough to initially make me hesitant since the real estate for that cover has grown a bit over-saturated). My ears were clearly not prepared for the whimsical dance of rhythm that only near-perfect harmonies can create.
Because that’s what the New Yorker trio of Elliott Skinner, Richard Saunders, and Ben Lusher have the power to do. They manipulate and master both the notes that emanate from their vocal chords and the air that occupies the space between them. The sound is pure magic. Not only are the arrangements simple and delicate, a nod to their impeccable skills as musicians, but their presence is so modest that it nearly makes you question whether what you’re watching is a ruse of some kind. It’s just that good.
Individually, each voice manifests its own gorgeous texture and tone. But together, Thirdstory is truly something to behold. Only when a vocal cracks or a breath is heard are you reminded that these guys are human. Only then do you realize that these otherworldly dudes live in the same time as we do, however Herculean they may seem.
Okay, I may have gone a tad Shakesperean in my flattery, but this is months of pent up Youtube views spewing out all at once. Seriously, can you track how many times you’ve watched a video? Actually, no, don’t answer that. Just shut up and listen. Seriously stop laughing and shhhhhhh:
Come to Miami, pls?