THE LEN PRICE 3 – The Grass Is Always Greener / Man Out Of Time

For a lot of garage rock fans, The Len Price 3 will need very little of an introduction. The trio have been cranking out guitar based sounds since the mid noughties, and are arguably Medway’s best known musical export after Wild Billy Childish. For the uninitiated, their 2007 debut ‘Chinese Burn’ provides the perfect place to jump into their catalogue. Its fifteen tracks show how the band – none of whom are actually called Len Price – are able to strike a perfect blend between high octane 60s inspired sounds and a sweaty musical fury. All the way from opener ‘Christian In The Desert’ – sounding like a wobbly but furious mix of The Kinks and The Hives – through the surf tinged ‘Viva Viva’, to the choppy ‘Chatham Town Spawns Devils’ where the band evoke the same kind of energy as The Jam tearing through the Larry Williams number ‘Slow Down’, the album rarely lets up. Since then, the band have continued to deliver retro tunes with a very high quality threshold.

This two track release from Little Steven Van Zant’s Wicked Cool label in 2023 coincided with the band’s first US tour since 2018, and for fans, represents everything they have come to love about the high octane trio. ‘The Grass Is Always Greener’ sets out its direct intentions very clearly when a choppy guitar riff emerges from the speakers, unaccompanied. Then, in a pleasingly predictable way, the drums and bass crash in, pushing a slightly punk tinged, 60s rock riff forward apace. The blend of hard edged garage rock and mod-friendly grooves then shifts into a slightly more melodic chorus where well placed harmony vocals dance above a swirling organ. This blend of energetic rock and radio friendly hook shows the Three at their most mature, and yet never loses too much of that uptempo rawness that they’ve always had.

Coupling that great tune, ‘Man Out of Time’ is a little slicker. It has the band’s usual 60s fascinations at its heart, but trades in the typical Kinks obsessions for something slightly more in the Merseybeat vein. This allows for a great guitar jangle throughout, but more importantly, the poppier tones are a perfect way to introduce some strong chorus harmonies, complete with a soaring lead voice. Obviously, it’s still more than recognisable as The Len Price 3, and just in case you feel they’ve come a little too close to wimping out, a very brief interlude showcases a couple of bars of distorted lead guitar, before a busier coda makes a great feature from some crashing drums.

Whether you already consider yourself a fan of the Lens, or whether you’ve yet to discover this band, this digital double whammy is definitely worth checking out. These two songs are a great addition to the LP3 catalogue. The only criticism comes with the fact that, due to the band’s insistence on an authentically 60s approach where nothing clocks in at much over three minutes, it’s all over far too soon.

September 2023