Little River Band

After Hours/Diamantina Cocktail

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AllMusic Review by

Lemon's 2013 two-fer combines the original Australian versions of two early albums by Little River Band: 1976's After Hours and 1977's Diamantina Cocktail. These are respectively their second and third records, and on After Hours, it's possible to hear how tentative Little River Band are. They flit between pub-friendly country-rock and sentimental folk, dabble in jazzy runs as they ramp up rock & roll rhythms ("Take Me Home"), pound home a horn-fueled pop/rocker in the vein of Chicago ("Everyday of My Life"), even stretch out into something that feels like inadvertent proto-prog ("Another Runaway," whose chorus uncannily mirrors that of Pink Floyd's later "Comfortably Numb"). Any hint of the well-known soft rock slickness that is missing on After Hours can be heard on Diamantina Cocktail, which opens with their first big hit "Help Is on Its Way" and also includes "Happy Anniversary," two signs that they've moved toward their shiny signature. That said, Diamantina Cocktail isn't all glossy: it's brighter in tone and more insistent in its rhythms, still showing hints of the pub rock boogie that often surfaced on After Hours. What the country-rock has in common with the pop is that they're both lively and there's no denying that this record has considerable good cheer that's evident even on the slower, softer songs like "Raelene, Raelene," which also happens to benefit from its slick surroundings.

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