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Little Red: Listen To Little Red

Straight outta Melbourne, Australia, with 3 lead singers fighting for every note over 4 part harmonies & skin-tight primal rhythms, Little Red are the hottest all singing, all dancing incarnation of the quintessential rock ‘n’ roll band, simultaneously both classic and anachronistic in a way that’s guaranteed to generate excitement.

Rather than stealing inspiration from the ‘book of cool’ this 5-piece cut to the chase in a pure style they jokingly refer to as ‘doo-wop punk‘. They maintain almost exclusively iconic influences, from a palette of Springsteen, Radiohead, early Elvis, Dylan, Sam Cooke, Nick Cave, The Beatles, and Lou Reed, as well as the more obscure gospel and doo-wop references that become apparent from listening to their fierce vocal passion, delivering the beauty and tension of musical emotion in a ragged and raw expression.

Formed from a core of childhood friends, and some late arrivals, and named after a song from the canon of Chicago blues legend, Willy Dixon, which reached no 1 in the UK via a cover from The Rolling Stones, Little Red are now recognised as Australia’s top live draw and current “buzz” band.

Listening to debut album ‘Listen To’ is pure entertainment, like sitting down to watch the in-house band at Fonze’s yard gatherings in ‘Happy Days’.  Their aspirational ‘gang’ mentality draws pictures of a band of fledgling anti-heroes from a classic-teen movie, akin to James Dean and Sal Mineo getting kicks from thrashing on instruments, instead of playing ‘chicken’ in souped-up motors, with wanna-be Natalie Wood types watching their every move. This is the kind of band happy to stir teenage hormonal fervour, creating instant anthemic feelings, but simultaneously carving out reaction from deeper feelings of the soul.

Be struck by the cocky strut of ‘Coca Cola’, as effervescent as its subject matter, and feel the languid carefree soul of ‘It’s Alright.’ ‘So Long’ sounds like the song that inspired The Pixies ‘Where Is My Mind’, with it’s darkly desolate swooning & crooning, whilst ‘Stare In Love’ opens up with the kind of sleazy blues groove that wouldn’t be out of place on an AC-DC album. Album closer ‘Autumn Leaves’ proves they’ve got plenty more magic tricks up their sleeves, with a polished intimacy, mixing high school love letters with a hint of Bacharach. The feel good factor, and the urge to dance that the album generates is foremost.

The band’s moves have increasingly garnered attention in their homeland, from winning Australia’s 2008 ‘Garage To V Festival’ competition, to touring with Vampire Weekend, to selling 40k albums and counting of their recently released debut album. Their Australian heritage has allowed them to be influenced by the classic British and American artists, but together with Melbourne’s d.i.y. ethic, the isolation of living on the world’s largest island has promoted unique development away from prying eyes. The wide-open landscapes of their locality encourage the same wide-eyed world conquering ideas that spawned the long-gone power of the original Americana, now replaced by more corporate populist cynicism. Their sound represents a back-to-basics rawness, where everything you hear is the sound of recording live in a room, and some of these great songs are even first takes. Like The Strokes & The Shins at their most influential, they deliver a dual quality of referencing timeless classicism with the urgent modernity of youth.

Listening to Little Red, you’re reminded of all the good things in life. As you dance like no one’s watching, and sing with your best bathroom gurgle in an attempt to recreate the essential quality of the band, one thing’s for sure, it’s hard not to smile.