Record Reviews

Track: Rock It

Little Red made their name with such a close reading of rock, pop, and soul tunes from 1950s and ?60s America that it was almost alarming to find out the songs were originals. With multiple lead singers leaning in for close harmonies and everyone partaking in a squeaky-clean retro image, Little Red seemed like a novelty when opening for Wolf & Cub or Ground Components and doing a Tote residency back in 2007. Then triple j got a hold of the Melbourne band’s debut album, Listen To Little Red, and the kids went wild for it. The requisite summer festivals and overexposure ensued.

Now the five-piece steps back into the spotlight – looking older and [not so clean-cut]( – with new single ?Rock It? from a forthcoming album. It’s an interesting song in that it keeps the essential ingredients of Little Red – the stripped-back arrangements, the emphasis on the rhythm section, the forever-teen vocal presence – but underplays, if not excising altogether, the band’s previous sock-hop sound. Leading with a strutting bass line that could open a Spoon song, ?Rock It? feels more like a slinky ?80s cut than anything else. If not for the absence of a killer hook, you could compare it to some lost Hall & Oates demo. There are even a few synth squiggles tucked in there.

The lyrics are broad and easy, twanging that well-worn theme of wanting a night of youthful abandon to last forever. And yet the chorus (first couplet: ?Rock it till the break of day/Don’t stop rocking now no way?) is imparted with the urgency of a shrug. That’s not a complaint: Little Red is clearly going for something mellow here. And with Scott Horscroft (The Temper Trap, The Presets, Silverchair) in the producer’s chair, there’s no scratchy glow of vintage vinyl here but an inoffensive blank backdrop.

The song’s a bit of fluff, harmless and easy on the ears. There’s no scene-stealing breakdown a la previous single ?Coca Cola?, but in couching the source of its early inspiration, Little Red might have lost its most identifiable feature. The challenge of the second album will be to pack in distinct songs that we remember after they’re gone.