03 February 2014 (released)
11 January 2014
The last time I came across the Len Price 3 was in 2010 and this album give me about as much pleasure as that last one did – lots.
If you were to define a ‘London’ sound of the sixties then this is it. There are echoes of The Kinks and The Who as well as later London bands like Madness but they are a quintessentially original outfit and there is nothing here that sniffs of copying.
Their spare beat laden pop is wonderfully edgy, especially on the Farfisa laden ‘Swing Like A Monkey’ but the best of them is on tracks that echo the songs and the bands of the sixties, telling stories of grandparents and odd acquaintances. ‘My Grandad Jim’ – rocky garage punk telling a story of an old soldier seen through the eyes of a teenager. The gonzoid guitar break is worth the price of the album on its own. Or then there is ‘Vultures’ with its stomping Beatle-esque stomp and a very Kinks meets Small Faces sound: the horn break is magic.
They can do the sad stuff too on tracks like ‘Lonely’: wistful and with harmonies that they heard on the West Coast it would make a great single.
‘Preying Mantis’ is a stunning piece of garage punk, spare and harsh, the sound is pure beat era but the theme is as modern as tomorrow or as old as last week.
‘Medway Sun’ is a real gem. Bucolic and wistful, definitely should be the pick for a single and definitely a theme for a forgotten part of the country.
Final track ‘The London Institute’ has just about everything – redolent of youth and reminiscence and with a Who-like sound that sticks in the mind and takes you back to listen again and again.
Every track has an identity and seems to reference a different element of the sixties sound but every track is also a tiny gem of music that can be held up to the light and marvelled at in its own right.
The Len Price 3 are a truly fine band and deserve a greater audience – check them out and enjoy!