By Jim Rowland

Artwork for Greatest Hits Volume 3 by The KenForming just last year, Bournemouth-based three-piece The Ken are fast gaining a reputation as a great live act with quality songs. As their brand new four-track EP, the cheekily named ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 3’ confirms, quality songs are in plentiful supply…

This is indeed a ‘proper’ E.P. too; not a lead track and three B-sides but four tracks of an equally high standard with none head and shoulders above the others. The sound of The Ken, certainly on the strength of this release, sits somewhere between the new wave/power-pop of the late Seventies, and the edgy alternative/indie rock of the late Eighties and early Nineties. Indeed second track ‘Big Kids’ here sounds something like what you’d get if you stuck Elvis Costello in a blender with Pixies, and it’s a pretty tasty combination.

Alongside ‘Big Kids’, ‘Don’t Stop Being Weird’, ‘Lucky’ and ‘Adult Baby’ are all strong on melody, boast hugely catchy choruses and clever guitar hooks with some subtle and unusual twists. Songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Martin Rice has a slight folky tinge in his vocal delivery which adds another twist, and the rhythm section behind him play it solid and simple which allows the songs to breathe.

The song writing, above all else, is what shines here, and if the likes of Elvis Costello and Graham Parker through to Pixies and Bob Mould is up your street, this band are well worth checking out.

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