What LEE HARVEY & THE OSWALDS (named after the killer of John F. Kennedy) hit you with here is really hard to digest, as the band cannot be measured by normal standards, and “Three Bullets In The Mainstream” will probably give numerous sleepless nights to people who try to pigeon-hole everything. If you want q quick lesson in all possible styles of music, this band from Munich is for you an you will have amusing hours. When it comes to mixing Jazz, Blues, Metal, Rock, Funk and Country, this eight-piece is a more than hot tip.
If you are looking for a somewhat fitting label for LEE HARVEY & THE OSWALDS, then Crossover as well as Fusion Metal would be appropriate, though categorizations like that would but roughly describe the true insanity. The seven musicians and the vocalist are extremely busy, and apart from “traditional” Rock and Metal instruments such as guitar, bass and drums, a saxophone, an organ, a harp, a trumpet and diverse percussion are used, too. It is truly remarkable how all of this is combined, and when you first listen to “Napkin Polka”, you can hardly believe what your ears are hearing. The Metal-infested Rhythm’n’Blues group pulls out all the stops and thus the palette ranges from the lively use of wind instruments to blast beats complete with Death Metal vocals. It can hardly get any crazier and the fact that there is no complete chaos proves that musical understanding and proficiency are here in abundance.
„Three Bullets In The Mainstream“ certainly was not intended for the rank and file, but everyone who likes to cross the whole repertoire of music and consumes everything from MOTÖRHEAD, JOHN LEE HOOKER, METALLICA, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and MILES DAVIS to ALICE IN CHAINS, JUDAS PRIEST, FUNKADELIC, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and DEATH, should be satisfied by this work in every respect. Those who like their music somewhat catchier compared to the opener “Railgun”, are provided with “Fat Fred” and “Devil Tune”, as the band rather play good ‘ol Rock here. No matter what LEE HARVEY & THE OSWALDS do, they always manage to keep the listener interested, as the scenario within the songs always keeps on building up. The above-mentioned “Devil Tune” constantly gets a tad heavier, more packed and more interesting during its course. The same goes for the Metal steam-roller “Blizzard”, which thunders along with double bass towards the end and constantly picks up speed and holds a lot of power.
With „Carnage“, the longest track on the album, you literally feel how much fun this band has with their music and how you can combine utterly different styles with each other without it sounding embarrassing and aimless. Of course, this endeavour is not an easy task for the band themselves, this courage to take risks is more than praiseworthy, though. Especially in a time when only a few bands try to find their own niche and rather benefit from the glory of the established bands before disappearing for good in the dark hole they once crawled out of. What is sensational, too, is the mostly instrumental “11811”, which equals a musical roller coaster ride and contains a lot of different emotions. The album is closed by “Crawling”, which is solemn at first and gets faster and faster, and the bluesy song “H. Song”.
The whole thing was packaged in an equally fashion (which fits the band’s name and the album title perfectly) and there you have an interesting yet uncommon album. For all discoverers among "The Metal Observer" readers, this band is an insider tip, which is why I advise you to check out LEE HARVEY & THE OSWALDS as soon as possible. (Online April 4, 2006)