[sic] Magazine

Little Red – Listen To Little Red

‘Unchained melodies’

The late 50s haven’t been so popular in 50 years. With the surf-rock success of The Drums, The Raveonettes’ current incarnation as tongue-in-cheek girl groupies and Glasvegas’s spectral thievery, everyone who’s anyone has been chucking in crest-of-a-wave guitar work and plundering The Ronettes’ drumming patterns.

Little Red approach things a little differently (they are Australian after all). Listen To Little Red is in part indebted to the close harmonies of Del Shannon and the primal rock ‘n’ roll of Elvis, and elsewhere it treads a very delicate line towards watery rhythm-and-blues schmindie. As such, thrilling rock ‘n’ roll often jives with insipid mush masquerading in The Strokes tightest trousers.

The album opener, ‘Coca Cola’ is a case in point. This corporate clunker, with its inadvisable bass work (more than reminiscent of the Babybel advert, in turn The Beach Boys’ ‘Barbara Ann’) and schmaltzy handclap percussion is not at all helped by knowledge of a questionable Neighbours guest appearance.

Nevertheless the lads seem charming to a man and most of Listen To Little Red is anything but dull, the tail end of which is uncommonly strong. The Rolling Stones’ most sympathetic harmonies are borrowed for ‘Misty, I’, and nearly all the 50s rock ‘n’ roll love songs worth listening to are condensed into the so-cool-it’s-straight-from-the-fridge track ‘So Long’. Woodblock percussion and bequiffed crooning combine to form a lost Righteous Brothers rhythm. The album closes with a shuffling and doo-wop-heavy waltz, glinting disco ball, prom posters and awkward hands seemingly thrown in for free.

Perhaps due to genuine immaturity, the overriding result is a hit and miss debut, the hits of which are certainly appealing enough however to warrant the current re-release of the Australia-only printing. Nevertheless, Little Red appear a little too keen to showcase their versatile record collections when more time should perhaps have been spent working out how best to use them.