Most immediately hamstringed by its chronological proximity to its peerless predecessor, The Len Bright Combo Present the Len Bright Combo by the Len Bright Combo, Combo Time! is that "difficult" second album that most bands flick out on their way toward a stunning third. The Len Bright Combo never had that luxury, breaking up soon after the release of this album. But maybe that was the sensible solution; the techniques that made their debut so unique were already being absorbed elsewhere, while Wreckless Eric's songwriting, never a beast prone to stand still for long, was moving on again, and the best of Combo Time! really did deserve more than the Combo itself was intent on delivering.
The freakish lurch of "The House Burned Down" stands out among the highlights, while "Pleasant Valley Wednesday" and "Club 18-30" both delegate against the lifestyles of the common herd of the time, a constant Wreckless Eric fixation, but one that was at its most pointed during the mid-'80s. Elsewhere, "The Awakening of Edmund Hirondelle Barnes" reminds listeners of the first album's epic "Sophie" (and not only for the return appearance of Edmund himself) and again, it's only the feeling of having been down these roads before that renders Combo Time! any kind of disappointment. Heard in total isolation, it is just as powerful and just as pertinent as anything that came before. ~ Dave Thompson
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