LITTLE RIVER BAND – Cuts Like A Diamond (2013)
With more than 30 million records sold – five gold and platinum albums as well as 13 Top 40 singles and after nearly forty years, the LITTLE RIVER BAND impressive story continues with their brand new CD “Cuts Like A Diamond” to be released on Frontiers Records.
During their initial chart run in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the Australian band was as mighty a force as any powerhouse passenger aboard the cramped Journey / Styx wagon, speeding down the AOR super highway.
Despite their post-80s chart absence, the LRB has carried on in various configurations throughout the years, lately more inclined to rock&pop sounds and fronted by American singer / bassist, Wayne Nelson.
But “Cuts Like A Diamond” recaptures Little River Band’s classic style combining their smooth signature vocals with layers of intricate guitar work and hooky melodies.
Plenty of highlights, the new album kicks off with the catchy, upbeat current single “The Lost and the Lonely”, followed by the easy on the ear “Forever You Forever Me”. Nice duo to open the album. The title track is next; another song which resides closer to the AOR border with smooth vocals.
The fat harmonies abound again on the groovin’ of “You Dream I’ll Drive”, then LRB ease up with the slow-tempo glide of “I’m An Island”. “Way Too Good’ lives up to its name, a track that echoes reminders of LRB’s rich past.
The Lonestar-flavored “What If You’re Wrong” is totally on-the-ball as a mid-west styled track but with the added richness of those killer harmonies yet again. Another winner.
“Where Do I Run” moves cautiously, but by chorus time with its nice build-up, the destination is clear to the boys in the band, before the fluid, sax-charged ballad “Someone” takes us back to LRB’s late ’70s material.
Perharps the more brilliant tracks are placed at the end of the disc.
“Who Speaks For Me” is a brilliant ’80s soft rocker potentially worthy of achieving classic status. Wayne Nelson’s lead voice straddles just the perfect balance between melody and grit, while staccato guitar lines play against a rumbling drum roll that almost evokes a desert landscape, with occasional ringing leads – a great sound all round – before turning to something a little more uplifting for the chorus.
Also a standout and completing the album, “Love Is” is an acoustic ballad delivered in a very calm mood where soft strummed strings play well against suave electric leads while the band indulge in some multi-tracked harmonies.
“The Lost And The Lonely” has a fantastic AOR base, this meaning Adult Oriented Rock in the vein of early ’80s FM rock, and not derivative from melodic rock nuances.
There’s a classy production / sound provided by soft chopping guitars, steady rhythm section and gorgeous harmonies, ‘real vocals’ not auto-tuned or behind studio trickery, just the real deal.
‘Smooth’ is the perfect term to describe this album from Little River Band, one of the finest, melodic based acts out there and this recording sits well with the band’s impeccable back catalogue.
01. The Lost and the Lonely
02. Forever You Forever Me
03. Cuts Like a Diamond
04. You Dream I’ll Drive
05. I’m an Island
06. Way Too Good
07. What If You’re Wrong
08. Where Do I Run
10. Who Speaks for Me
11. Love Is
Wayne Nelson (bass, lead vocals)
Greg Hind (guitar, lead vocals)
Chris Marion (keyboards, vocals)
Rich Herring (lead guitar, vocals)
Ryan Ricks (drums, vocals)
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