The Kent 3

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Spells Review

by Erik Hage

Bellingham, WA, group the Kent 3 offer blast upon blast of frenetic, nervy pop-punk on Spells. The trio seems to draw equally on the garage frenzy of '60s Northwest predecessors such as the Sonics and late-'70s/early-'80s art punk. "Bellingham" is equal doses of muscular, quick-stop guitars and hoarse-throated fury, while "The Changeling," with its choppy, angular vocal line, lands midway between the artier side of '70s punk and early works by the Jam. On the sunny side of things, the amiable, rolling beach punk of "15 Days" recalls the Queers at their best, while the friendly, upbeat "Man in a Woman's Body" revels in '60s-style sugar pop (in this way calling to mind the Ramones and the aforementioned Queers). Perhaps the only misstep is the ominous and spooky (in a silly way) "The Pines." Many would-be punkers of the '90s and beyond seem ill-versed in punk history, not realizing how varied their chosen genre's terrain can be. Not so for this band, who has created a high-energy and diverse punk-scape with Spells. This record is both arse-kicking and a lot of fun.

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