The second EP Nick Lowe recorded with Los Straitjackets within the course of a year, Love Starvation/Trombone does indeed play a bit like a genuine double-45 that its title suggests: the two main songs are paired with flipsides that are a bit lighter and mellower than the A-sides. Neither of these B-sides are slight. "Raincoat in the River" -- a tune originally cut in 1960 by Sammy Turner with producer Phil Spector and revived by Ricky Nelson in 1965 -- has been an occasional feature in Lowe sets since 2014 and it's an ideal match for Lowe and Los Straitjackets, connecting with Lowe's fondness for pre-Beatles pop and the band's guitar chime. "Blue on Blue" -- which, contrary to its title, is not a Bobby Vinton cover, but rather an original -- matches this early-'60s vibe with its dreamy melody but it's certainly not as forceful as "Love Starvation," which is perhaps the purest slice of power pop Lowe has delivered in the aftermath of New Wave. That leaves "Trombone," a stately echo of the glory days of the Brill Building distinguished by its namesake instrument and a high-lonesome refrain from Lowe. While it's not as immediately catchy as its companion A-side, the fact that "Trombone" doesn't sound precisely like any of its accompanying three songs underscores the benefits of Lowe's decision to deliver EPs instead of LPs: he's able to polish each track so it shines on its own accord.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine