Graded on a Curve:
Little River Band,
The Hits…Revisited

Look. Let’s cut to the chase. There are many reasons I gave this album an F. It’s repulsive, reprehensible, repugnant, and retch inducing. And those are its good qualities. It instills horror of the sort that arises when one discover that one’s beloved has a vestigial tail. A ghastly moment, that. Enough to cause the hair at the nape of one’s neck to stand up as if the National Anthem were being played by a band of lunatics on plastic kazoos.

But confront it I must, vestigial tail and all. For I review records, and this purports to be a record. I have my doubts. To be honest I suspect it to be some vile Lovecraftian horror looking to shlurp its way into my home disguised as a record. If I do not survive to publish this review, no one will ever know how I died. A neighbor will no doubt find me as stiff as a board, a frozen look of consummate horror on my face. There may be defensive wounds to both ears.

The first thing I wish to say about 2016’s The Hits…Revisited by Australia’s Little River Band is that the album name is all wrong. It should be called The Hits…Exhumed. Most likely by suspicious persons seeking proof that the songs on said album are really dead, and aren’t zombieing around out there somewhere. And their suspicions are well founded. For at least five of the songs on the soft rock primer are regularly played on easy listening radio stations and listened to by people who want their music to act upon them as aural Valium.

The second thing I would like to say about The Hits…Revisited is that I do not intend to give it an F after all. No way. Frankly, I don’t know what I got all excited about. Because whatever you say, Valium is good stuff. Soothes the savage beast. “Reminiscing” sent me into a smooooth trance from which I awakened both refreshed and renewed. “Lady” and “Cool Change,” same thing. The latter tune is especially soothing. “The albatross and the whales/Are my brothers” sings Glenn Shorrock, and why anybody would want an albatross as a sibling is a mystery to me, it’s patently obvious that he loves that albatross brother every bit as much as John Denver loved grandma’s feather bed. But forget about the albatross and the feather bed. The point I wish to make is that “Cool Change” is a stone cold soft-rock classic,

As for “Help Is on Its Way,” it demonstrates that Little River Band at their hardest were Australia’s answer to Kansas, which is a compliment I think. The throbbing bass that opens the song is worth the cost of the LP all by itself. And I love the part where Shorrock suggests if you’re having trouble with your brain, why just trade it in for a replacement. Why didn’t I ever think about that? And what can I say about “Lonesome Loser” other than it’s both hilarious and proof positive that the Little River Band were Australia’s answer to Journey, which is not a compliment.

The rockin’ “The Night Owls” is the idiot love child of the Eagles and REO Speedwagon and worth its weight in chuckles. Out on the dance floor a king of the one-night-stand “shuffles his feet away,” and you actually feel sorry for the guy. Watching your feet shuffle away from you must be discouraging. They’re you’re feet, for Christ’s sake. And you want to hold onto your feet. They come in handy for all kinds of things.

Also worth mentioning is “All the Young Faces,” which sounds like second-rate U2 and constitutes a compassionate look at the difficulties faced by today’s youth by the sagacious elders of the Little River Band. They sing, “How will you answer/When they ask you why?/Don’t turn away/From all the young faces.” And they sing, “No one listens/So they choose to break away” and if like me, you’ll clench your fists in rage. In short “All the Young Faces” is a hoot, even more of a hoot than “Teach Your Children.” If I had kids I would definitely make them listen to “All the Young Faces” as a form of discipline. And if they actually related to it, I’d disown them.

No, I will not give The Hits…Revisited an F. Its power as a calmative is too great. This stuff works so well it has to be addictive. And this in turn helps me to understand why so many people love this total AOR pap. Once upon a time I thought they were idiots. Now I know that I am, in my own small way, one of them. We are family, and the albatross is our brother.

GRADED ON A CURVE:
C-

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  • Donna Nolan Wilson

    Wow, you didn’t do your homework. Shorrock is NOT on this album, not one second of it.

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