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coverpic flag England - Full Moon 106 - 05/23/05

The Len Price 3
Chinese Burn
Laughing Outlaw

The press sheet accompanying the album says the band has chosen 'to sound as deliberately 'anti-popstar' as possible' and that the musical traditions the band follows has 'an undeniably 21st Century makeover'. I'm not totally convinced. The band sounds like some of the popstars of the mod era did 40 years ago, like the Kinks and Who in particular. Also, they use analogue equipment and the album is recorded in glorious 'needles-in-the-red' mono.

The noble art of writing pop music, here we're talking power-pop, involves subtle theft, so subtle no one notices although something sounds familiar. A few of the Len Price 3's songs aren't quite subtle enough. The trio's recent single "Christian In The Desert" in particular, that opens this debut album, is built around a guitar riff that owes too much from "All Day And All Of The Night" by the Kinks. The rest of the songs are fortuneately not equally easy to pin down, but here & there I sense traces of classics like "The Kids Are All Right", "I'm A Boy" and "My Generation" by the Who, Creation's "Biff Bang Pow" and maybe even "Dead End Street" by the Kinks. All right! Some vocal harmonies and shouts are indebted to the Beatles around 1963-64 and the use of harmonica sounds similar to several r'n'b groups of the same erea. The overall arrangements and production has maybe be vitalized to some extent by punk energy.

14 self penned songs mainly with ultra short choruses that are repeated, and Link Wray's instrumental "Comanche!" from 1959 in less than 31 minutes ain't bad. The mono recording doesn't seem to be a bad idea either. The album was originally released as a vinyl album, I suppose (at least on the cover of my CD copy the songs are grouped on side one and two), but even on CD some of the tracks sparkles. Especially on the ultra short (1 min. and 23 seconds) and bouncy "Viva Viva" with hardly any lyrics apart from the title and 'you dirty old man' and the more melancholic in a The-Kids-Are-Alright kind of way "The Last Hotel".

I can imagine the Len Price 3 to be a revelation live. Their reputation as a live act has increased lately and includes a support slot for the Libertines. The band, from Medway Delta in Kent, will be touring their native England, but also mainland Europe, Australia and the USA throughout the year. If you like to jump up'n'down to raw rock or garage pop, the Len Price 3 is a band to seek. Search for the bands own home page or the Australian Laughing Outlaw Records' ditto for more information on the band history, records, downloads, upcoming gigs etc. If they're not heading for a venue near you, Chinese Burn is a useful substitute, preferably the vinyl edition for the correct vintage vibrations.

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