Flying over same old ground
FIRST some statistics. The Eagles are the most commercially successful American band in history. Two of their albums are in the all- time top 10 list of biggest sellers. It’s 31 years since one of those albums, Hotel California , was released, 27 years since they broke up and 13 since they re- formed to take the Eagles’ live phenomenon around the world. We can expect another visit from them here within the next year or so, by which time Long Road Out of Eden will have crossed multi- platinum boundaries. Tight harmonies, expert musicianship and hookladen, radio- friendly soft rock songs were the Eagles’ bread, butter and caviar and the 20 tracks on this double CD play to those strengths, or at least traits. The songs were written in a variety of combinations, with solo contributions from Glenn Frey, Paul Carrack ( I Don’t Want to Hear Anymore ) and J. D. Souther, whose vibrant country- rocker How Long dates back to early Eagles live performances. The Frey- Don Henley partnership offers the worst of the set. Busy Being Fabulous and What Do I Do with My Heart are unbearably schmaltzy and predictable, even with the former’s irony. Their Frail Grasp of the Big Picture is engagingly funky as it takes a swipe at the US’s present political and cultural malaise. As with everything else here, however, it has any spark of originality knocked out of it by inch- perfect production techniques. The 10- minute title track is meant to be a grand statement, but is undermined by Henley’s clunky, overblown lyric (‘‘ music blasting from an SUV/ On a bright and sunny day’’) and the Last Post- style instrumental I Dreamed There Was No War that follows. Overall, Long Road Out of Eden is a dull 90 minutes. And that from someone who has watched every Sydney FC game this season.