Friday, May 3, 2013

Little River Band - The Net

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of the release of The Net, the seventh studio album from Australia’s Little River Band. It charted at number 61 on the US Billboard Hot 200 and number 11 in Australia.

The line-up for the band at this time was Beeb Birtles (guitar and vocals), Graeham Goble (guitar and vocals), David Hirschfelder (keyboards), Stephen Housden (guitar and vocals), Wayne Nelson (bass and vocals) and Derek Pellicci (drums and percussion). It was also the first album to feature John Farnham as the lead vocalist.

Side one begins with “You’re Driving Me Out of My Mind”. As the first single, it reached number 35 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This song about obsession opens with a funky guitar rhythm and a strong section of horns; I really like the whole danceable beat to it.

The second single “We Two” peaked at number 49 in Australia, number 22 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 17 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary charts. Farnham rings out the emotions of the song’s complicated relationship dynamic.

On “No More Tears”, the singer resolves to no longer be ruled by a broken heart. This one has a bit of a classic, Buddy Holly kind of vibe on the verses that served the likes of Marshall Crenshaw and Elvis Costello well.

“Mr. Socialite”, a mid-tempo groove about an unattached playboy, was the B-side to the first single. This is the first track on the album to have a stronger synth sound to it.

“Down on the Border” was actually first released on the band’s 1982 Greatest Hits album. As a single at that time, it went to number 7 in Australia. The band decided to add this song about an enlisted soldier abroad to this album as well. I like the guitar work here which has a bit of a country element to it.

Side two starts with “The Danger Sign”, a mid-tempo tale of cautionary romance.

The B-side to the second single was “Falling”. The music on this is mysterious and shrouded, perfect to match the unexpected encounters the singer is experiencing in the lyrics. At the end, there is a nice touch as it spirals down into a musical vortex.

“Sleepless Nights” brings to mind those times during my single years of lying in bed, staring at the ceiling and thinking way too hard about the one I wished was there in my bed.

“Easy Money” starts with a great beat that sweeps me away instantly. The lyrics tell of crime and corruption in a city to the north. I like the gritty guitar solo here.

The title track “The Net” closes out the record. This one opens with ambient water sounds and a lonely horn before transitioning into a claustrophobic rock grind. The whole thing gives the listener a feeling of futility and hopelessness against those things that keep us confined in life.

The expanded 2002 CD version of the 1982 Greatest Hits collection also included a few tracks from The Net and later albums. It was from there that I was first exposed to three tenths of this record.

Back in the day, I always enjoyed the chart singles from the Little River Band, even owning a few on 45s. I certainly was entertained by the deeper cuts from this one as well and have earmarked a number of them I would like to add to my library in the future.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Martin,
Although I do not remember this album,specifically (I don't know that I knew any LRB album specifically, just the singles), I did like them. Every time I hear the song "Cool Change" I can still picture Jimmy Myers singing it; it is beautiful.

Hope you are well.