Grunge supergroup, 3rd Secret, debuts first record


Mike Hipple

3rd Secret album cover featuring Jennifer Johnson (right) and Krist Novoselic (left)

Sydney Lammey, Staff Writer

Soundgarden guitarist, Kim Thayil, bassist of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic, and Pearl Jam drummer, Matt Cameron, have come together to form the band 3rd Secret. We also hear Jennifer Johnson and Jillian Raye from Giants in Trees on vox. The group also features Bubba Dupree, a guitarist for the D.C hardcore band Void. 

3rd Secret’s debut album under the same name dropped April 9, 2022, followed by a secret show at Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture. The album was primarily recorded and mixed by prime grunge-era producer, Jack Endino. 

The opening track, “Rythm of the Ride,” greets us with soulful, folk-like melodies, followed by rich, melodious vocals. The album softens the sounds we have previously heard in each individual member’s primary band and creates a whole new genre of rock. Nirvana is commonly named the punk-grunge band, while Pearl Jam and Soundgarden are described as primarily classic rock-influenced. 3rd Secret, unlike its 90s counterparts, is overtly folk-rock inspired.

The variety of guitars on this album is very unique compared to others in its genre. Songs like, “I Choose Me,” features high register 90s rock riffs, while, “The Yellow Dress,” exhibits slow, downbeat rhythms. No track fails to showcase Thayil’s genius.

The lyricist, Jillian Raye, feeds us beautifully thought-out lines that fade perfectly with the instrumentals on each and every track. Tenderheartedness sits in the core of 3rd Secret, from upbeat Mad Season-like tracks to downcast ballads that center moments of deep emotion.

Although the lyrics and melodies are very well written, it is kind of hard to get into 3rd Secret. The vocals do not seem to match the instrumental aspects, with some parts feeling out of key. Personally, I think a vocalist from a different group with a vibe similar to the other members would fit a lot better with the rest of the band. Keep in mind that Johnson and Raye came from Novoselic’s alternative/indie rock band Giants in Trees which has totally different energy compared to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam. The choice to scout vocalists from a band that clashes with the genre may not have been the best idea.

3rd Secret strays far from former albums produced by Endino, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Times have changed, and the sounds that were heard in the 90s are going to be different than the sounds being produced now. Most criticism of 3rd Secret seems to come from an urge to fill the nostalgic void the 90s left in the hearts of many grunge fans. But for an album with little to no promotion, it is a nice simple project.