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The Len Bright Combo


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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Eric Goulden (vocals, guitar, organ); Russ Wilkins (guitar, cello, piano, bass guitar, cymbals, background vocals); Bruce Brand (piano, drums, tambourine).
  • Liner Note Author: Eric Goulden.
  • Recording information: Upchurch Village Hall.
  • Released at a time when "low-fi" still meant the Mary Chain, and garage rock was largely ill-defined Cramps copyists, the Artist Formerly Known As Wreckless Eric bounced back from five years of more-or-less obscurity with an album that still defies easy categorization. No matter that most of the lessons taught by the Len Bright Combo have long since been absorbed into the mainstream, nor that everyone from Mudhoney and Sonic Youth to whichever unrepentant noisemakers are most hip this week, owes the Combo a massive stylistic debt. Still, The Len Bright Combo Present the Len Bright Combo by the Len Bright Combo represents the peerless merging of pristine pop songwriting and deathless aural terrorism, the most impressive album of that ilk since the Velvet Underground first sent the recording level unstoppably into the red -- and the last to do it so gracefully. There is nothing contrived or awkward about this album. Its sonic credentials may be primitive mono, but that's because the songs, not the style, demanded it. From the maniacal Euro-bop of "Someone Must Have Nailed Us Together," a song so singalong that even confirmed hermits love it, to the shattered punk of "The Golden Hour of Harry Secombe," the album has that timeless aura that could have been composed and cut any time in the past 50 years -- yes, the entire history of rock & roll is here and, if the bellicose savagery of "Young, Upwardly Mobile...and Stupid" is dated by the then-(mid-'80s) faddishness of its title, then the deceptively acoustic "Lureland" catapults the listener back to 1950s England, where family vacations to the seaside were transformed in the child's imagination to assault courses of sand castles, rock pools, and demented old men cracking skulls with their walking sticks. Seek out The Len Bright Combo Present the Len Bright Combo by the Len Bright Combo in Wreckless Eric's discography, and it's just one album among many, and there's not a hit single in sight. Experience it in person, however, cranked up loud with your mind's eye wide open, and it's records like this that make music worth hearing. And nothing else will sound so great for days. ~ Dave Thompson
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