As with most other Easybeats compilations from outside of Australia, Retroactive's 22-song CD dwells on the group's international career, starting with their United Artists singles. On the plus side, in contrast to Repertoire's Best of the Easybeats, the producers have reached back to late 1966 and the singles "Come and Get Her" and "Women (Make Me Feel Alright)." That holds "Friday on My Mind" back until the fourth song, but still doesn't solve the fundamental problem with compiling the Easybeats' history from 1967 through 1969 -- that the further they progressed into 1968 and beyond, the less inspiration they had as songwriters and the less cohesion and distinctiveness they had as a band. On toward about track 17, with "Good Times," we're getting into catchy, formulaic rock & roll, and as anyone who knows the glorious/sad history of this band is aware, their later efforts, such as "Who Are My Friends" and "Rock and Roll Boogie," are as lacking in invention and real excitement as those early United Artists tracks swim in them. This release is still marginally superior in content to Repertoire's collection in terms of content and sound, but if Retroactive had only reached back to the group's three Australian albums and their accompanying singles, it would have been really special and a lot more fun.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder