When I was a boy, a man used to wander the streets in our area dressed up and looking like Christ from a 1950’s film epic. Staff and all. He eventually shot a police officer and was then subsequently shot by another police officer. Everyone knew who he was just from his visibility in the community.
Noddy, a character in one of the new compositions from The Len Price 3 — based in Medway, United Kingdom — was a real-life man similar to the aforementioned one. However, the song isn’t only memorable for its lyrical content but the music that accompanies it. From its German count-in and opening chords to the distortion of its outro, “Noddy Goes to the Pentagon,” sounds like a lost psychedelica track from 1966.
“Noddy Goes to the Pentagon is about a local character, Medway character,” told Glenn Page, the band’s singer and guitarist, to For The Love Of Bands via email. “Anyone that lives here would know of him. I began to think he was immortal as he was around when I was a boy and I would still see him around until recently looking exactly the same. He would ride his bike around very fast while shouting and swearing at people quite randomly. Sadly he died in 2020.”
The band’s latest recording, The Strood Recording Company, is an EP follow-up to their self-produced 2017 album, Kentish Longtails, and delivers four infectious power-packed compositions that have something to say.
“We had originally set out to record an album and we recorded about 18 songs or thereabouts,” Page said. “We had them all mixed and ready by about the middle of 2020. When it came to it though, I wasn’t very happy with it. I felt the songs weren’t very good. So we settled on releasing what we thought were the best 4 songs as an EP.”
They didn’t disappoint. The songs tear through a musical landscape layered by a 60’s mashup discussing hippie posers, Noddy, Brexit and social anxiety.
“We’re really pleased with the sound of the EP. We might even venture to say it’s the best thing we’ve done from a sonic perspective,” Page admitted. “It’s the recording we’re most happy with sound wise anyway. Neil (Fromow/drum kit) takes the credit for that. He really did his homework and put in the effort to make sure it sounded good.”
Incidentally, there is no Len Price in the band. It’s Page, Fromow and Steve Huggins on bass.
Revolver comparisons have been made to Strood. Page told Fromow he wanted some of the Strood tracks to have a Revolver profile.
“A few people have commented that “Noddy Goes to the Pentagon” sounds like the Revolver / Paperback Writer / Rain recordings. So it looks like he got it spot on there, ” Page commented.
Interestingly, Page was listening to 70’s roots reggae and modern jazz during the recording of the EP. Yet, he fell back into first loves: the Who, Beatles, Kinks, Clash, Undertones and Ramones.
“I think the music of the 60s as well as 70s punk is in my DNA because that’s the style I’m always drawn to write in,” he said.
Lyrically, Page’s sharp and sometimes acerbic words are front and center. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and has never been reticent to express it. “Weekend Hippies” is a prime example. The irony of its lyrics sung over a psychedelic sound accurately reflects the message of the song. It’s about a former co-worker of Page.
“They would always bang on about going to festivals, taking drugs, loving music and practicing meditation- mostly laudable things,” he explained. “Unfortunately that person was also a bully and was thoroughly unpleasant to people at work. It seemed to me that they were a peace loving hippie at the weekend and a total bastard during the week!”
And the soul-rooted, early Who-like “Got To Be Together,” is a kind of anti-National Front Disco track that is a pushback against Brexit.
“I was responding to all the division and partisan politics that had emerged from the whole Brexit debate and subsequent fall out,” Page said. “I’m not one for political statement in our music really. All I’m saying in this song is that I’m in favour of things that bring people closer together rather than things that divide and drive wedges between us.”
A sanguine message? A friend of Page pointed out that The LP3 frontman was mired in negative commentary.
“And he has a point because song writing is like a therapy for me,” Page revealed. “It’s where I deal with a lot of stuff that has been troubling me. Since he said that I’ve tried to make more of an effort to write at least some songs with a more positive outlook.
The Strood Recording Company is currently available on vinyl. The band’s preferred auditory delivery method.
“We’re vinyl fans,” Page said. “Lots of our fans are vinyl people too. We sell more vinyl than CDs when we’re on the road. We were drawn to the idea of something only being available in this one format. It’s not inconceivable that we might release it digitally in the future but we’re not planning on it at the moment.”
For more information on the EP and how to purchase it, visit The Len Price 3’s Facebook.