Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Little Heroes - Play By Numbers (1982) plus Bonus Tracks

(Australian 1980-1984)
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The Little Heroes were a popular Australian rock band in the 1980s. They are best known for their hit single "One Perfect Day", which was released in 1982.  Little Heroes were formed from the remnants of The Secret Police. The Secret Police were a popular Melbourne rock band, comprising vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Roger Hart(aka Roger Wells), bassist Neil Walker [Died 1979 from Leukemia] was replaced by John Taylor, drummer Bruce Pumpa, guitarist Andrew Callender, and saxophonist Peter Linley.
In 1980 Hart, Taylor and Pumpa joined keyboardist David Crosbie to start a new band called 'Little Heroes'. The new line-up competed in the Victorian State heat of the 1980 Battle of the Sounds, finishing a creditable second. The band recruited a new drummer, Huk Treloar (ex-Bleeding Hearts) to replace Pumpa, who in turn was replaced by Alan 'Clutch' Robertson after the release of their selftitled debut album.
The lineup of Hart, Crosbie, Taylor and Robertson then toured Australia with Australian Crawl to promote the successful hit  "One Perfect Day" and their 2nd album 'Play By Numbers' . Fisher and Leslie left to join Dear Enemy and were replaced by Paul Brickhill (ex-MEO-245) on keyboards and bass player, Rick Loriot (ex-Inserts).
The band added guitarist Paul Bell, which allowed Hart more freedom as lead vocalist and they then (Hart, Robertson, Bell, Brickhill, Tavasz).  They released their third and final LP "Watch The World" in 1983.
In June, 1984 Roger Hart/Wells announced he was leaving the band and as a result The Little Heroes was formally disbanded. He later became a meditation trainer and author, with a keen interest also in travel, art and photography.  He still writes songs from time to time.
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Little Heroes Have The Numbers
(T.V. Scene Mag, June 1982)
The Little Heroes have gone through "an important change" in recent months, although most people probably missed it.
That change was the addition of the word 'The' as a prefix to the band's name. That may not sound like the most earth shattering event in history, but Roger Hart said the move had proved most significant.
"It's all to to do with numerology", he expalined to T.V SCENE. "It was the right thing to do at the time and since we changed the name things have started going right for us".
The band's problems started after they won the 'Battle Of The Sounds' a couple of years ago.
At the time, the young band was estatic. They won a record contract, national publicity and were guaranteed a large marketing push from CBS Records. Their debut album was rushed out, but fared dismally.
And when they parted ways with CBS their future looked bleak. But EMI showed faith in the band and now they have a huge hit with "One Perfect Day".
"If this single had not succeeded, we probably would have gone off the road and had a long look at ourselves," Roger said.
I've been through a lot of ups and downs with this band, but I've always had faith in my songs.
With the first album, I still believe in the songs themselves, but the playing and production wasn't up to scratch.
"Despite it all, it still comes down to whether we enjoy playing with each other".
"One Perfect Day" has opened up a wider audience for The Little Heroes. Roger used his own experiences as the starting place for the story of two lovers separated by distance.
"It's not about any specific event - it's a combination of events", he explained.
"It's about a person who is left imagining what a friend or lover is doing on the other side of the world and ultimately if they will come back. When I wrote the song, I was thinking about a couple of friends in England. The British Government was in a shaky position and there were riots in the streets".
"In the end, it all got mixed up, but I believe songwriting should be more about mood and feeling than about facts. If I wanted to write facts I'd be a journalist, but I want to be more impressionistic".
Naturally, the success of "One Perfect Day" has put pressure on the band to produce a follow-up.
Roger revealed that the next single would bring a complete change. "The next one will be more up-tempo," he explained.
"Our set now has a lot more dynamics. It's hard for us to gauge much difference in audience reaction since "One Perfect Day" because it hasn't been out all that long. I'm just taking it day by day. We've got a gig tonight and that's all I'm thinking about."
"It doesn't matter if there are 1000 people or only two - whoever is there, I'll play to them".
Roger has a thoughtful approach to songwriting. He prefers to vary the arrangement of a song to give it light and shade.
"Not many bands know how to use silence," he said. "The only band I've seen who use it well is The Police. I think silence and space within songs are most effective".  [by Brett Stavordale]
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Album Reviews
#1.  (The T.V Scene Mag, Sept 4, 1982) 
The unfortunate news is that there are no songs to match the full-bodies, romantic tension of "One Perfect Day" on 'Play By Numbers'. However, the good news - and there's plenty of it - is that The Little heroes are capable of provoking a blitting party mood at the twirl of a synthesiser knob, and they can do so often.
"Saturday Afternoon Inside" is your sneakers and tee-shirts rock and roll coloured by some of the boppiest guitars and playful keyboards about. It provides quick warning that The Little Heroes is not a duplicating machine, running off swarms of "Perfect Days". "Something's Got To Happpen" maintains the dizzy stupor, although the sudden changes in tempo gives it a more desperate feel. In retrospect, what the above tracks lack in instrumental heaviness, they make up for in rowdy, slurred vocalising. Instant music for the people with no time on their hands and no restrictions on their feet. "One Perfect Day" of course, is still the album's highlight, coming like the 'morning after the party' at the end of side one. (ed. this tact is rare, with most bands opening their albums with their strongest track). It has firmly established the serious aspect of the band. Other pieces such as the simmering, twitching - "Melbourne's Just Not New York" re-emphasises it. Filter out the very accessible accompaniment and you're still left with clever words and a clinging melody. 
The strategy is straight beat, bent words and slurred vocals is further exposed on the lively, already successful single "Young Hearts". Pre-fab pop with no instrumental conscience, its only aim in life is to provoke the feet to riot. Although posessing a harder harmony approach, "Ophelia" equally forks out throwaway music for greasing up the festa wheels. The party parlance continues its eloquent course with the beachy tones of "Sound and Vision". With spirited singing yet low musical ambition it somehow sits out the fun from the commercial hard-sell. Guaranteed to sweeten up the deadest party without diluting the effects of the bitter.
Finally, the exploratory electronics of "Dusseldorf" provides a "sit-up-and-absorb" track of high intrigue. An ashen rhythm and bleak spits from the ivories, it represents a sobering close to a snappy, deliberately-superficial disc. [author unknown]


#2. Newspaper Review
"One Perfect Day" was one of the sleeper singles of the year - fortunately for Little Heroes, because it saved their bacon. The band's first album and three singles on the Giant Label had failed to go anywhere, then songwriter Roger Hart (Wells) pulls this yearning, bitter sweet ballad out of a hat and his band is suddenly hot property.
The new Little Heroes - and only Hart remains from the first lineup - have a smooth push in the rhythm section which powers the songs and a restrained way with the guitar and keyboards which leaves lots of room for Hart's vocals - and undeniably it's his vocals which sells the group. At once both ingratiating and annoying, he sings something like a folkie with those British twangs they all emulate. As much as it gets up my nose, it's also absolutely compelling. Hart's world is a little on the melancholic side, inhabited by girls who play solitaire and brush their hair, who take him up to silent rooms with paintings on the wall where they can watch the rain together. The characters in his songs all seem to suffer from a deep loneliness, an alienation where all their actions are meaningless in the face of this isolation. Even Gordon who runs around trying to have a good time has to wear dark glasses and finds he's "Running Round In Circles" while the people who go to wild parties all think thet they'd be better in New York ("Melbourne's just not New York") 

The elegane simplicity of the songs and their similarity tends to make the album pale after a while. Basically none of the songs are spectacular, but given the craftsmanship of Dave Marrett's production  and Hart's voice, they are certainly appealing enough. Despite, or perhaps because of, the thematic cohesion this album works better as a collection of singles - and there are plenty of singles here, two of them already having become hits.
Will Roger Hart ever cheer up? A shaky start can get anyone down I suppose, but he's now vaulted into the middle time and I expect we will see more diverse display of the range of his talents next time around. I doubt that Little Heroes are ever going to set the entertainment industry on its head but 'Play By Numbers' announces the arrival of another good craftsman. [author unknown]

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This post consists of a vinyl rip in MP3 format (320kps) and includes full album artwork and a multitude of photos and newspaper articles, most of which were sourced from the The Little Heroes Facebook Page with thanks.
I have also included two bonus B-Side singles which did not appear on the album. "Just Can't Wait" is a strong track which probably deserved a place on this album while the other "Please Don't Wear That Hat " is a bit of a novelty track and shouldn't be taken too seriously.
The following link provides an interesting insight from Roger Hart/Wells on how he came to write "One Perfect Day" (thanks to Neb-Maat-Re at Midoztouch for pointing this out to me).
I hope you enjoy this second offering from the 'The Little Heroes', it seems to be a stronger album compared to their first LP and has some great moments. My favourite tracks are not only the 2 singles but also "Stay Away From Sarah" and "Dusseldorf".
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Track Listing
01 - Melbourne's Just Not New York
02 - Saturday Afternoon Inside
03 - Something's Got To Happen
04 - Running Round In Circles
05 - Ophelia
06 - One Perfect Day
07 - Sound And Vision
08 - Pretty Shadow
09 - Young Hearts
10 - To Be Her Cat
11 - Stay Away From Sarah
12 - Dusseldorf
13 - Just Can't Wait (Bonus B-Side Single)
14 - Please Don't Wear That Hat (Bonus B-Side Single)


Band Members
Roger Hart (aka Wells) -  Guitar, Lead Vocals
Peter Leslie - Bass, Vocals
Martin Fischer - Keyboards, Vocals
Alan 'Clutch' Robertson - Drums, Percussion
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Little Heroes Link (123Mb)  New Link 23/09/2013
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6 comments:

  1. Thanks mate for the Little Heroes LP's. I have them to do but now can work on the other 1,000's I have to finish :)

    Ozzie :)

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  2. A good album in general & in particular for "One Perfect Day" which is a Classic Track in itself.

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  3. Any chance you could re-activate that link? I have been searching for this for a really long time! Thanks.

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    1. Hi Mark
      I've just tried the Filefactory link, and it seems to be OK ? Maybe try again
      Buzz me again if it's still playing up

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  4. What an excellent blog site! I am a huge fan of Aussie music, especially on vinyl and have a modet collection which I still play. One of my favourites is One perfect day on play by numbers.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by George - plenty more where this came from. I might post a couple of Little Heroes bootlegs soon so stay tuned! Happy hunting - AR

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