Am I the only person who actually liked this album? There certainly aren't a lot of positive reviews here, but that seems to have more to do with people's expectations than anything else. I realize that the band included 2/3 of the celebrated progressive rock act Emerson, Lake and Palmer (Greg Lake is replaced here by former Hush vocalist Robert Berry), but expecting another ELP is just not realistic. I think a lot of that band's success came from the chemistry between the three key players. Removing one changes the whole dynamic. It's also a bit unrealistic to expect a serious progressive rock album in the late 80's. Hell, even Yes was more pop than prog at that point.
I think it helps to look at 3's 1988 debut album To the Power of Three like you would an Asia album. You know the players involved will have the technical chops to pull off progressive rock, but that making a good pop/rock album is the main focus. To that end, I think 3 passed with flying colors. To the Power of Three is a very solid effort, and is the kind of 80's pop-oriented rock album on par with what Asia and GTR were releasing at the time. It should surprise no one that this is a strong album musically. Keith Emerson's keyboard work really carries the album. Robert Berry gives a string vocal performance as well, with a warm and steady voice that is perfectly suited for this kind of music. The album ventures into prog territory at times, such as the three-part "Desde La Vida", and closing track "On My Way Home" sounds a lot like ELP, but for the most part it is a pop-oriented rock/AOR album, and a strong one at that.
Another reviewer recommended that only die-hard ELP fans buy this album. I have to disagree, and in turn recommend this to open-minded ELP fans, not to mention fans of Asia, GTR, and 80's pop/rock/AOR in general. The key is judging the album on its own merits rather than expecting something unrealistic.