Thursday, March 30, 2006

Little River Band s/t (1975)

In 1975 Little River Band burst upon the musical landscape-- their style was a laidback country rock that would not have sounded out of place coming from the Eagles or the Doobie Brothers.

Perhaps the only true fault of this auspicious debut is that it opens with its strongest tracks-- probably one of the strongest tracks in the band's entire song catalog. Clocking in at 8 minutes and 46 seconds A Long Way There showcases the best of what this band has to offer. Their catchy country/rock rhythms, their tight vocal harmonies, Glenn Shorrock's distinct lead vocals, and the rock guitar theatrics of both Graeham Goble and Beeb Birtles.

By opening with such a stellar song, the rest of the tracks only serve to suffer by comparison which is quite unfortunate considering that many of the remaining tracks are also quite enjoyable.

Curiousity Killed the Cat straddles the rock/country line with country-esque vocals and vocal harmonies but with meandering yet driving rock guitar lines.

Meanwhile is good old-fashioned roadhouse boogie. It's fun, it's catchy and features some superlative guitar work-- again by Birtles and Goble. Shorrock's vocals help drive this rollicking tune.

Other standout tracks include the Beeb Birtles penned and sung I'll Always Call Your Name a rather stirring ballad that shows Birtles to be quite a tunesmith in his own right and the somewhat elegeiac Statue of Liberty that captures the general pessimism of America following the Nixon resignation and the Vietnam conflict:

Anything can happen in the U. S. of A.
Ain't no use anymore in tryin' harder

Statue of Liberty sinkin' in the harbour

Despite living half a world away in Australia Glenn Shorrock seemed to have a good idea of the general mood of the American people.

On the whole, this is a very respectable debut that shows glimpses of the even better material that was yet to come. While there are no big hits like The Night Owls, Reminiscing, or Lady-- those would all come later, you can clearly hear the potential of the music which would come from this tight Aussie musical unit.

Related Links
Little River Band (official site)
Birtles Shorrock Goble (official site)
Little River Band (wikipedia)
Birtles Shorrock Goble (wikipedia)
Little River Band (wikipedia album entry)
Glenn Shorrock (wikipedia)
Beeb Birtles (official site)
Beeb Birtles (wikipedia)
Graeham Goble (official site)
Graeham Goble (wikipedia)
Other Little River Band related reviews on The Review Revue


Ben Heller said...

I have this album, and you've got it just right. The album's a really promising debut, but for me it just misses at least one, maybe two standout songs. I like the relaxed feel of it though.

Perplexio said...

It's A Long Way There is such a stellar track, but there's nothing else on the album to balance that out. It's one great song and 8 good songs.

I do really enjoy Statue of Liberty as well, though.

Jay Noel said...

I love Little River's great music to play when you're in the car out for a long drive.

Perplexio said...

Phoenix: Yeah, now that you mention it, LRB music does kind of have a "road trip" feel to it.

Charlie Ricci said...

I haven't heard this album in years but there was a time I loved it to death. "It's A Long Way There" is great and so is "Meanwhile." They are another band who "sold out" early. Their next album, Dimantina Cocktail was great too, but by the time they got to their 3rd LP, Sleeper Catcher, it was over.

Perplexio said...

Charlie: I actually really like their Time Exposure album and I LOVE the 3 albums they did with John Farnham on lead vocals: The Net, Playing to Win, and No Reins.

Oh and Farnham's Whispering Jack solo album is pretty solid too.