The LP3’s singer songwriter Glenn Page has been talking recently about how the band’s fifth album, Kentish Longtails, is their most eclectic yet channeling Britpop, Shoegazing, Krautrock and even a smidgen of Musique Concrete.
Cue heart palpitations for the band’s ever growing following of mods, punks and power pop devotees fearing a make-over of Spinal Tap proportions.
Yet from side one, track one, chord one, it is clear that the LP3 are saving their progressive jazz rock tendencies for a future collection. Opener Childish Words is business as usual. A savage garage punker detailing a bit of previous that band had with the self proclaimed Godfather of the Medway sound Billy Childish. ‘Billy told the writer that we play for cash, malicious allegations through a droopy tache,” Glenn sings, before the killer put down “You say your motives higher but I don’t understand. Cos you’ve been selling your paintings for fifteen grand.” It is money Vs art over riffs that Dave Davies would be proud of.
So everyone can relax. Glenn Page is still putting the world to rights, and along with cohorts Steve Huggins on bass, and Neil Fromow on drums, taking it out on his musical instruments. Yep Kentish Longtails once again finds the band mining The Who, The Undertones and The La’s for inspiration conjuring up with a sound and lyrical approach that could be no one else but them.
Having said that the albums isn’t short of a few surprises. Like the last album Nobody Knows, the lyrics have got snider and the melodies sweeter – such as on side two’s stunning pop gem Meaningless Mouth (a theme tune for Love Island if there ever was one) but more of that in a moment.
Also, maybe it is the production, the band largely eschewed a producer and proper studio and recorded much of the album in sheds, and appropriately enough, garages, but there’s a whiff of 80s indie going on here too. Weirdly the melodies of two the album other poppiest songs You Can’t Say Goodbye and Paint Your Picture Well remind me a bit of late 80s Cure at their most commercial.
So highlights… If you like your LP3 rough raw and angry then along with Childish Words you’ll be smitten by Nothing I Want, a brutal put down of UKIP-voting, tax avoiding, moneyed-up Kentish bounders. Or another ear-bleeder, Lisa Baker, the Poundland Valentine who is dancing in her underwear courtesy of a few too many Diamond Whites.
But if you like Glenn Page’s softer side check out Telegraph Hill, a jaunty mid paced love song – with an intro that’s been borrowed from The Chocolate Watchband – and Stop Start Lilly a Townsend-esque title for a track that could very easily sit on The Who Sell Out. Pocketful Of Watches is also a 60s influenced Zombies-like pop gem, this album’s Great Omani or Couldn’t Get Much Worse, and a dead cert to appear on Fading Yellow volume 72 in a few decades times.
As for me I think there are three standouts. Saturday Morning Picture Show, a raucous celebration of the pre-video era and possibly the first song ever to namecheck The Children’s Film Foundation is classic LP3. And the previously mentioned Meaningless Mouth, possibly the most hummable chorus that the band have ever committed to on vinyl.
And if you keep listening to the CD (don’t panic there will be vinyl too) after the end of Man In The Woods this album’s London Institute style finale complete with a barrage of effects and Barrett-esque-esque twists and turns, you also get to hear a quite brilliant bonus track
Sally Ann is proper lo-fi – a scratchy, distorted melange of noisy pop complete with a magnificent chorus, hilarious vocal gymnastics and lyrics that describe an encounter with the uniformed, tambourine touting God Botherers. It might be the best thing on the album, is sure to be amazing live and could even hint at a new direction for album six.
So yet another five star album for the LP3. At the moment Pictures still holds the crown as my favourite from the band, but give it time and maybe this one will knock it off its perch.
Incidentally the band have a few dates coming up.
However their one London shows sold out way too quickly. Here’s hoping that the capital gets more dates very very soon.
The album comes out in September on vinyl, CD and download and you can get it here soon.