THE LEN PRICE 3
Kentish Longtails (JLM Recordings)
Twelve years in and with five albums under their belts, LP3 undoubtedly remain the best kept secret in showbusiness. This new release name checks a piece of local folklore concerning a curse allegedly placed upon the people of Strood by Thomas Becket which condemned these Medway children to be born with tails. Local history and rock’n’roll together, ladies and gentlemen, is always a winner.
Recording this long-player partly in a shed and garage has certainly helped give it a certain air of joviality. As singer/guitarist Glenn Page maintains, “It was like three lads messing around with a tape recorder in their first band; very relaxed and with a looser vibe”. If you are looking for fierce melodic hooks matched with none-more-English wry social observations then you’re in luck. The crunching guitars and hammerhead rhythms (from Steve Huggins on bass and Neil Fromow on drums) regularly result in a Buzzcocks/Who hybrid sound that’s perfect to shake off the day's frustrations with.
Opener ‘Childish Words’ really goes for the jugular, a no holds barred assault on the decreasingly relevant Medway renaissance man Billy Childish. “Billy told the writer that we play for the cash...You say your motives higher, but I don’t understand/‘Cos you’ve been selling your paintings for fifteen grand”. Ouch. In fact the theme of disappointment with fellow musicians is returned to on Hammond-enhanced ‘Sucking The Life Out Of Me’, the fuzzing thumper ‘Ride On Coat Tails’, and the soft-focus lament ‘Meaningless Mouth’ (the hummable chorus: “everyone’s taking it/knowing you're faking it”). Page has that knack of delivering melodies that sound familiar enough to offer emotional comfort, without ever falling into pastiche.
Elsewhere odes to the minutiae of Medway lives is interspersed with nostalgia for a lost childhood. On the Noel Gallagher-ish ‘Telegraph Hill’ tasteful parping horns add a new dimension to a uncomplicated, singalong love song. You can probably guess what the belting ‘Saturday Morning Film Show’ is about. The savage put-downs on ‘Nothing I Want’ are frankly hilarious and will be all too familiar to any small town dweller surrounded by dead-eyed UKIP voters (like ‘Lisa Baker’, whose “off her face on Diamond White”).
It’s not all bluster buses driving along the roads of Kent though - there’s a couple of slower numbers here that are undeniably affecting. ‘Pocketful of Watches’ is the Jeff Lynne/McCartney-indebted piano waltz to melt the hardest of hearts, and ‘Stop Start Lilly’, with it’s innocent group harmonies, could easily be mistaken for A Quick One out-take (which as compliments go is up there with the best). The finale ‘Man In The Woods’ repeats the previous album's ‘London Institute’ trick of being a warm tribute to the Floyd, and such is the excellence of it this is surely an avenue they should explore much more of in the future.
Being this good into your musical career is rare, and should be inspirational. There’s little doubt it’s their best album to date, in a career of high-points. Maybe the secret about this trio will now finally get out.
Kentish Longtails is out September 22 via JLM Recordings - preorder on CD or vinyl here
BY PHIL ISTINE
A blog to pontificate upon music both new and old: mostly reviews, some news, interviews, thought pieces, and exclusive content.