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Length of Growth (1981-1989)

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Album Review

Released on fomer bassist Paul Nini's own Old 3C label, Length of Growth marks the first time the Great Plains' jangle-punk sound (with hints of new wave) has been available on CD, outside of a handful of compilation albums. Comprised of 50 songs spanning the Columbus, OH act's 1981-1989 career, Length of Growth draws from the band's entire catalog, including three full-lengths released by the legendary Homestead label. Included on the album are hook-laden favorites like the ultra-catchy "Dick Clark" and "Letter to a Fanzine," which poses the age-old question, "Why do punk rock guys go out with new wave girls?" Also included are more obscure tracks like "Rutherford B. Hayes" and "Real Bad" (the title refers to the state of then bassist Don Howland's bladder), as well as uncharacteristically touching songs like "Same Moon." Though there are too many to mention, other gems include "The Way She Runs a Fever," "I Must Have Made It All Up," and "Pretty Dictionary," which features the line, "Without a book in my hand/I'm a desperate man." Noticeably absent is longtime Ron House staple "Chuck Berry's Orphan." A band whose music was keyboard-driven with twangy guitar accents punctuated by House's endearingly imperfect, nasal, almost Jello Biafra-ish vocals and deceptively smart, occasionally snide lyrics, the Great Plains have been hailed by such underground luminaries as Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo. All things considered, the Great Plains really just come across as being a fun, goofy bunch of guys who are having a ball playing rock & roll. Known for its ever-rotating member lineup, Great Plains' mainstays included vocalist House, guitarist Matt Wyatt, and keyboardist Mark Wyatt. Other members have included Nini, Dave Green, Mike "Rep" Hummel, Bill Bruner, Jim Castoe, and Hank O'Hare (aka Don Howland, also a member of the Gibson Brothers, which included Jon Spencer). Following the breakup of the Great Plains in 1989, the members went on to form other bands such as Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments, Log, One Riot One Ranger, and Bassholes. The Great Plains reunited in the late '90s for a handful of shows, mostly in the Columbus area, prior to the release of Length of Growth in August of 2000. ~ Karen E. Graves, Rovi

Customer Reviews

OK Just OK

it's just ok I mean 'the night wont live to see the day' Well Dahh

Brilliant and catchy

Ignore the dork "Red Pepper." This is smart, melodic post-punk music that will make you happy. Listen to "Time To Name The Dog," or "Letter To A Fanzine." It's a really special collection and I can't recommend it highly enough.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s

This Ohio quintet makes new-wave folk/pop ala XTC. ~...
Full Bio
Length of Growth (1981-1989), Great Plains
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