Picks and Pans Review: Good Trouble

UPDATED 08/16/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/16/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT

REO Speedwagon

After a decade of dues and 10 discs that just hung around the record shops, this L.A.-based quintet caught rock's brass ring last year when their Hi Infidelity LP took off and subsequently sold six million albums in the U.S. Having finally stumbled onto a mass-appealing musical formula, they are, it's obvious from this collection, not about to tamper with it. Breezy tenor harmonies, pushed along by a warm front of lightweight guitar and keyboard instrumentals, is how they weather these 10 temperate tunes. Still, leave it to a band named for a fire engine chassis to call one of their love songs Keep the Fire Burnin'. Generally, though, their lyrics are something less than a literary four-alarm blaze. Take this couplet from Every Now and Then: "Every now and then when a friend says, 'Hi,'/And asks about us, I just wanna die." Yikes! What would the reaction be to "How's tricks?" They're hardly musical marvels. But it's easy to enjoy this good-time band as a kind of American success story. If Bruce Hall's lead vocal on their tune Let's Be-Bop is any indication, the boys are all refreshingly astonished: "Suddenly it happened, here we are with all this glory/We never thought for a minute, that we were writin' a story/We took our chances, somehow we held it together/And now I feel there is justice, I always knew there was."

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