The Ultimate A To Z Of Album Reviews By Gary Steel – L

Gary Steel is slowly compiling all his album reviews in one place. This is a work in progress, or what we call a “live document”. Today is the letter ‘L’.



Lip Service – Lip Service (CBS)

1980/Evening Post

The debut by locals Lip Service is probably the best-produced New Zealand album in some time. Unfortunately, the quality of songwriting fails to transcend the worthy production. This album’s a borderline case, which is inevitable; not everything in music can be neatly divided into good and bad. 5/5


Little River Band – First Under The Wire (Capitol)

1979/Evening Post

Australia’s Little River Band have become regulars on the charts and First Under The Wire is ample evidence of the band’s talent for writing nifty radio-orientated rock tunes, and producing stylish, sophisticated albums.

While winning no awards for originality or imagination, LRB’s latest is an immaculate vocals-dominated pop album. Try the single ‘Lonesome Loser’ or the jazzy ‘By My Side’ for size. 6/10


Lene Lovich – Flex (Stiff)

1980/In Touch

That’s Lay-na Lu-vich to you, toot. Betcha didn’t know that, didja? The image, the music, the name: Equi-vocal to the gimmick. Vocally, she’s Patti Smith MkII, but more stylised, more warbly and wacky. She (and her band, whoever they may be) uses a mock-gothic approach to lock’n’loll, from the overdramatic choruses to the macho Cossack-wearing back-up choruses.

For all the contrivances – the aforementioned image and redundant, pretentious stylisations – Flex utilises enough variety of rhythmic and creative devices to make the damn thing heartily enjoyable, as insubstantial and playfully deluding as it may be (maybe).

The first side definitely has the upper hand, with winners like ‘Bird Song’, ‘Angels’ and ‘The Night’. By the time the disc is flipped, Lovich begins to sound tedious. She goes for effect all the way; effect without sincere and serious intent.

She’s just another mildly talented subversive diversion. Enjoy her while she’s still hip. 6/10

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