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First under the Wire
Little River Band

Capitol 11954
Released: July 1979
Chart Peak: #10
Weeks Charted: 33
Certified Platinum: 11/20/79

First under the Wire is the most sonically dazzling album yet by a group that specializes in flashy pop bombast. For ensemble virtuosity and harmonic sophistication in the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young/Eagles tradition, Little River Band is hard to beat. Co-lead singer Glenn Shorrock suggests a David Crosby rejuvenated with Roger Daltrey's power. Four of the group's members are strongly melodic writers, and the fifth, drummer Derek Pellicci, really kicks.

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Little River Band - First under the Wire
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But the Little River Band's steel-and-chrome eclecticism only accentuates a drastic lack of musical focus, while the lyrics clumsily try to torture everyday observations into would-be Major Statements. The self-pitying protagonist of "Lonesome Loser" is "Beaten by the Queen of Hearts everytime." The narrator of "Cool Change" tells us he "was born in the sign of water. "Hard Life" deals out pseudotruisms like "People fight in our wars/On the world where we live" that barely make sense, literally or figuratively. And the title, "Mistress of Mine," speaks for itself.

This isn't to suggest that most of the Little River Band's words aren't well intentioned. But this Australian quintet tries much, much too hard. It's a pity that these guys can't come up with lyrics to match their music, since their sound, at least on a technical level, is very impressive.

- Stephen Holden, Rolling Stone, 11/15/79.

Bonus Review!

Though the cool harmonies and pretty melodies dominate as they have done on previous efforts, two efforts here ("It's Not A Wonder" and "Man On The Run") show this Australian quintet can rock when it feels like it. Still, it's the midtempo and slow numbers that have earned the band fame and it doesn't disappoint. "Hard Life," with some stirring guitar work by David Briggs, is sure to become a favorite with fans while "Lonesome Loser" is charting well on the Hot 100. "Cool Change" features especially nice lyrics and breezy harmonies. Best cuts: Those mentioned above.

- Billboard, 1979.

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