The Go-Betweens - what's it all about?

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When the Go-Betweens first sailed over my horizon, the discrepancy between the extravagant claims made on their behalf and the unimpressive racket of the records made levity the easiest response. But they won't quite go away: I am frequently surrounded by G-Bs fans, and again and again I return to what bits of their oeuvre I have, trying to work out whether it's really any good, and if so, why.

I don't think the G-Bs are terrible, and I remain to be convinced that they're as good as their enthusiasts say. What I repeatedly find them is *difficult*. I don't understand the lyrics; there are few memorable melodies; even the rhythms are often perverse and hard to follow. None of this is necessarily bad - far from it. But I would like to appeal to those in the know: what is the point of the Go-Betweens? Why, exactly, should we persist in trying to overcome the obstacles they set before us?

the pinefox, Tuesday, 13 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure I can answer this in objective terms. I can quite believe there are people in the world who wouldn't like the Go- Betweens, so I'm not sure you *need* to persist in trying to like them. I can't say I liked them the first few times I heard them, but suddenly it clicked, and I never looked back (although I wouldn't say I liked all of Before Hollywood or Send me a Lullaby in particular). It's something to do with their awkwardness -- the over-done lyrics, the clumsy guitar breaks, the willingness to try out half-arsed attempts at, say, funk (Cut It Out) -- and the sense that these are too ordinary, if eccentric blokes. There's something to the chemistry between them, the way they counter-balance each other's worst excesses ("No Robert! Not another one-chord spoken word piece with abstract lyrics..." "No Grant! Not another ballad in which your girlfriend's about to leave you"), especially on stage when one of them will turn and look at the other as if he's really proud of something the other's done.

I know there''s more to say, but I'll have to think it through :-)

alex thomson, Tuesday, 13 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I've heard, or at one time owned, virtually everthing they've ever done and I still don't 'get' the GBs. The odd track is good (That Way, As Long as That, but it's difficult for me to ignore the lack of memorable tunes, Forster's horrible voice, the sheer ORDINARY-NESS of their usual mid-paced plod, and the lack of highs and lows.

Lyrics are not that important to me, so that doesn't save them. I've concluded that GBs devotees are just looking for completely different things in music, whatever they are, and we're just worlds apart. Like Pinefox, I'm curious to know what it is that people see in them, but I doubt that we'll find out.

Dr. C, Wednesday, 14 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

The G-Bs seem like an odd band to struggle with if you find them difficult. I just see classy pop and it sounds good to me. That's my Ned answer, anyway.

Otis Wheeler, Wednesday, 14 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

listen to PEOPLE SAY (it´s all you have to do)

Jens, Wednesday, 14 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

to me the go betweens mean gentle humour (Surfing Magazines) great pop hooks & melodies (Bye Bye Pride) inspired, ornate lyrics (you in freezing weather, snow cuffs on your wrists, me down by the river, and london no longer exists - love is a sign), oneiric, uneasy beauty (cattle and cane) and two finely matched voices. I *love* robert's voice, it's raw and beautiful.

However, they did not always wear the right trainers. And I agree that some of their album stuff is shite. I hope you keep listening, it's a filthy lie that pop music is always instantly "get"-able. Sometimes you have to persevere, dontcha? I hated Television the first time I heard them and they're now my fave band ever. i admit to loving the GBs on first listen, though.

hymie, Friday, 16 February 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I hate them because I don't know what 'Proustian' means - even though I saw the film where Jeremy Irons does Ornella Muti doggystyle.

Geordie 'Inadequate' Racer, Tuesday, 10 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I'm still waiting for an explanation, pleez

Still unenlightened, Thursday, 19 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

In the sleeve notes to the 1978-1990 compilation, Robert Forster describes how a couple he met inspired him to write "Love is a Sign". Someone who can get picked up by a couple and take advantage of and appreciate the situation enough to be able to say "they were a great couple" is great.

That people find The Go-Betweens difficult puzzles me. I worry that I'm not attuned to the music enough to hear what's difficult about it. As for the melodies not being memorable, I don't know. I think I listen to them as a background to Robert Forster's voice and the subjects he sings about, and they add tremendously to the pathos of the songs. I don't think Robert Forster and Grant McLennan are clever lyricists, but I think they write with great feeling, and they see things that someone I could admire would see. It's the details.

If you don't like Robert Forster's voice or if lyrics don't matter to you, I can see how it would be hard to get into them.

By the way, I bought, read, and sold back this paperback called _The Go-Between_ by J.P. Hartley from a great used bookstore when I was in Amsterdam. I think a film was made based on the book with Lee Remick in the leading female role. Does anyone know if that's where they got their name from?

youn, Friday, 20 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Name from movie-title: fer sure. Everyone ripped off half-forgotten art-movies and/or b-movies in those far-off days. All About Eve/The Honeymoon Killers/One-Eyed Jacks.

(like hear'say doing Simon and Garfunkel covers w/o the creative integrity)

mark s, Friday, 20 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ow! That was nice, Mark.

I probably don't need to say here that lyrics do matter to me. I think it's possible, or arguable, that the G-Bs' lyrics are the best thing about them. I still think they're melodically weak. Occasionally (I'm thinking of 'Part Company') that doesn't matter, and can even become a kind of virtue.

I do think this band is a grower. I like them more than I did. But I still think they're somewhat overrated, because their tally of great tracks still seems to me rather small, given how long they've been at it.

Their records also tend to include really bad guitar solos.

the pinefox, Thursday, 26 April 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
I thought we'd finished with this; but in the Guardian the other day, a piece not only comparing them to B&S and the Velvets - silly, really, when they sound little like either - but also saying they'd kept melodic songwriting alive. What's wrong with this picture?

the pinefox, Thursday, 24 April 2003 11:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

They're charming, vulnerable, whimsical and winsomely eccentric. You Americans wouldn't understand.

colin s barrow (colin s barrow), Thursday, 24 April 2003 11:17 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I love the Go-Betweens and will defend their music - but I won't defend what some hack wrote. Preposterous that they kept melodic songwriting alive. The B&S comparison - I think someone in B&S in an early interview cited the Go-Betweens as an *influence*. Writer just repeating what he heard.

dave225 (Dave225), Thursday, 24 April 2003 11:22 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

They sing about ponies 'n' that kinda shit (Rather poncey) too much on the pre-break-up albums. But I like Friends Of Rachel Worth a lot. Haven't heard the new one.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Thursday, 24 April 2003 17:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

colin - do you think American's regularly read the Guardian? think before you post.


a bit whispy, when I was younger I yawned violently to them, no I'm older and it all makes sense to me know *weeps*

James Blount (James Blount), Thursday, 24 April 2003 18:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

it all makes sense to me NOW rather (I should think before I post)

James Blount (James Blount), Thursday, 24 April 2003 18:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...
Listening again, naturally.

Liberty Belle LP.

Liking 'In The Core Of A Flame', just now!

the gofox (the pinefox), Thursday, 11 May 2006 15:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i only ever owned the Liberty Belle one, and it's got 3-4 really good songs, but overall they were too limp (lazy, weak melodies & iffy vocals) to get me interested. RIP anyway.

timmy tannin (pompous), Thursday, 11 May 2006 15:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

So pinefox has evolved...

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 11 May 2006 15:36 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"they were a great couple" caught my attention too. that type of sentiment can be taken as 'great' like for you but i can also see others looking at the two guys as annoying troubadours who think 'what kind of a man actually says mush like 'they were a great couple'? probably just to catch birds.' i think it's almost a prerequisite to like this band that the listener be able to tap into his own romantic side. i agree that on music alone they could cause a non-romantic to scratch his head and think 'what's the fuss?'

Carlos Keith (Buck_Wilde), Thursday, 11 May 2006 19:33 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

ooh la la

Drooone, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 02:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

wonder if he'll bring the show down south?

mrlynch, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 05:42 (ten years ago) Permalink

I was wondering what he would do next -- and I don't blame him for catching his breath and looking back a bit, after everything.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 05:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

I like the GoBetweens just fine and dandy, but I never loved them they way I loved their more racous countrymen such as The Triffids or The Moodists. At the more gentler end of the spectrum I always thought The Chills sounded more like how the 'tweens were described - and they never did anything as good as Pink Frost.

Sandy Blair, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 06:26 (ten years ago) Permalink

Hasn't someone (maybe it was you Sandy) said pretty much exactly this before?

Drooone, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 06:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

goddamn i'd so go to that if i wasn't going to be in london then

electricsound, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 07:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

I was wondering what he would do next -- and I don't blame him for catching his breath and looking back a bit, after everything.

not surprisingly, this coincides with the release of a split 90s best-of by he and McLennan solo

energy flash gordon, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 12:31 (ten years ago) Permalink

I always thought The Chills sounded more like how the 'tweens were described - and they never did anything as good as Pink Frost.

Um, wrong, in that while "Pink Frost" may be the absolute single peak of Martin Phillipps work there's so much else very close to that summit.

Mr. Odd, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 18:56 (ten years ago) Permalink

Funny, these memories, but I remember sitting with Martin Phillipps as he gazed at that double album Go-Betweens anthology (on vinyl) and told me how his goal was to make an album half as good as the Go-Betweens worst!

deedeedeextrovert, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 19:48 (ten years ago) Permalink

saw this thread as "cattle and cane" came on. weird.

Steve Shasta, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 19:58 (ten years ago) Permalink

Hard to believe it's been more than a year since McLennan's death.

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 20:02 (ten years ago) Permalink

Yeah, memories are funny. I recall a schoolboy... wait, no, I recall sitting with Martin and he's EXTREMELY modest about the quality of his work. His best is on the same level as Grant and Roberts.

Mr. Odd, Wednesday, 23 May 2007 20:05 (ten years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_nn90p-tIg

what a pretty song. though, sometimes i forget how awful and pointless so many mid-1980s videos were.

amateurist, Saturday, 24 October 2009 02:18 (eight years ago) Permalink

The song that introduced me to the Go-Be's. I don't get why this song is called overproduced; to me there's just enough reverb on the guitar hook, synth, and vocal to give it that nuevo Orbison vibe.

lihaperäpukamat (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 24 October 2009 02:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

From an interview with one of the guys from No Age on Pfork this morning, regarding new album influences:

Pitchfork: Is there any brighter, more poppy music you have been listening to lately that might be having an influence?

RR: Yeah, actually. The Go-Betweens have been on rotation. They have a really interesting sort of sound collage. That and this band Disco Inferno have been two references for us in a lot of ways. There's a fun-ness in there. Disco Inferno is really heavily sample-based, but still has this pop element. There's this record D.I. Go Pop that I have been listening to a lot during the creation of this.

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Thursday, 28 January 2010 15:33 (seven years ago) Permalink

That's interesting .... Haven't really been nuts about the No Age I've heard, but a Go-B's influence would be welcome! Hey if you're wondering what the latter day go-betweens were all about, my friend put together a best of the 2000s mix of the band over yonder .... http://ow.ly/11qAR ... it's very good!

tylerw, Thursday, 28 January 2010 17:07 (seven years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

Would go to this but I'll probably be watching a lot of football, should be ashamed of myself

Bees Against Racism (Tom D.), Thursday, 2 May 2013 13:35 (four years ago) Permalink

One of my fave t-shirts:

http://www.gobetweensstore.co.uk/Merchant2/graphics/00000001/mclennanT-large.jpg

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 2 May 2013 13:55 (four years ago) Permalink

man i would so go to that hangover lounge thing if i lived in london. i don't even know what it is but I'd go! was just listening to a pretty wild bootleg of the trio go-Bs from 1982. kind of amazing they made tallulah a couple years later -- this thing is spikey as hell.

tylerw, Thursday, 2 May 2013 20:51 (four years ago) Permalink

I actually prefer the earlier work, especially Before Hollywood, over the late '80s stuff like 16 Lovers Lane. I dunno, I just find a track like 'A Bad Debt Follows You', with its spiky guitars and shifting time signatures, much more interesting than the U2-isms of 'Quiet Heart'.

The Jupiter 8 (Turrican), Thursday, 2 May 2013 21:15 (four years ago) Permalink

"Quiet Heart" only sounds like U2 because of "With or Without You."

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 2 May 2013 21:22 (four years ago) Permalink

The female harmonies in Streets Of Your Town are the most beautiful thing I've ever heard. Beyond that, I dig Spring Rain because of that guitar riff that's in Kingpin that I spent 10 years trying to identify. That's about it for me though.

kaleb h. (Everything You Like Sucks), Thursday, 2 May 2013 21:32 (four years ago) Permalink

Hey, don't ruin "Quiet Heart" for me by making a U2 association!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 2 May 2013 23:16 (four years ago) Permalink

feel like i've heard Forster say that song started out as a jesus and mary chain thing?

tylerw, Friday, 3 May 2013 04:07 (four years ago) Permalink

My fav T-shirt ever.
http://www.gobetweensstore.co.uk/products/hammert-large.jpg

Jazzbo, Friday, 3 May 2013 11:20 (four years ago) Permalink

where the streets of your town have no name

i don't get the u2 thing at all, but yes i would love to hear more spiky guitar go-betweens a la man o'sand to girl o'sea

dschinghis kraan (NickB), Friday, 3 May 2013 11:27 (four years ago) Permalink

Every line in "Quiet Heart" reverberates ("We're trying hard to keep this warmth in"). Plus: harmonica solo instead of guitar!

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 May 2013 11:30 (four years ago) Permalink

http://damienpower.com.au/2013/04/spleen-archives-grant-mclennan-interview/
coincidence not

MatthewK, Friday, 3 May 2013 12:27 (four years ago) Permalink

He gives away too many secrets about McLennan.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 12 January 2018 03:51 (one week ago) Permalink

What is weird electro-noise which arrives with first chorus of Part Company that sounds like a cross between a theremin and a hissing radiator?

I think that's Jacques Loussier on a Prophet 5.

Whiney Houston (Tom D.), Friday, 12 January 2018 11:55 (one week ago) Permalink

Has anyone heard anything as to whether the second box set is still happening?

michaellambert, Friday, 12 January 2018 14:14 (one week ago) Permalink

the door is open wide!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBDe9BGNBnM

scott seward, Friday, 12 January 2018 15:15 (one week ago) Permalink

Best use of oboe in pop music?

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 12 January 2018 19:07 (one week ago) Permalink

Yep! I've said so.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 12 January 2018 19:10 (one week ago) Permalink

only Roxy comes close ("Out of the Blue," "Nightingale").

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 12 January 2018 19:11 (one week ago) Permalink

but what about "Crazy For You"!???
(just kidding, "bye bye pride" is the best use of oboe in pop music)

tylerw, Friday, 12 January 2018 19:17 (one week ago) Permalink

Nightswimming is pretty great but this makes me want to dance in the street with strangers.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Friday, 12 January 2018 19:26 (one week ago) Permalink

amanda brown guested with R.E.M. a couple times right? Maybe she was playing violin there ...

tylerw, Friday, 12 January 2018 19:37 (one week ago) Permalink

does the cor anglais in "life in a northern town" count as as an oboe? judges?

scott seward, Friday, 12 January 2018 19:41 (one week ago) Permalink

what a song

in twelve parts (lamonti), Saturday, 13 January 2018 10:04 (one week ago) Permalink

On this video of “Head Full of Steam” looks like Amanda is playing a violin through an effect to make it sound like an oboe or something:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuuqJGLgjXw

Before Hollywood Swing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 13 January 2018 13:49 (one week ago) Permalink

The official video for “Head Full of Steam” is, um, interesting.

Before Hollywood Swing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 13 January 2018 13:55 (one week ago) Permalink

Enjoyed recently discovering the cover of “Bachelor Kisses” by The Radio Dept.

Before Hollywood Swing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 13 January 2018 23:53 (one week ago) Permalink

Okay, got the book and have been reading over the weekend and have to say Alfred, as is the case more often than not, is right: it is one of the better rock memoirs. It hits the sweet spot of telling you stuff you wanted to know along with things you didn't think to ask about and seems to avoid, as far as I can tell as far as I have read, some of the obvious traps- score settling, evasion, meaningless digression or page-filling, embarrassing defensiveness, reinterpretation or misinterpretation regarding the author's own work. He is careful and cagey in describing Grant, playing one card at a time, interested to see what will be revealed as I get further along in the story.

Before Hollywood Swing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 14 January 2018 19:28 (one week ago) Permalink

Yes, Forster is a writer: he doesn't insist on proving a thesis. What he has to share about his best friend he will do in a leisurely manner after he has limned scenarios.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 14 January 2018 19:34 (one week ago) Permalink

He seems to be one of the few people besides myself who likes the Bryan Ferry record Dylanesque. I will have to reread his piece on that and reflect.

Before Hollywood Swing (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 14 January 2018 22:11 (one week ago) Permalink

Read through to end this weekend. Did not disappoint

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 02:00 (one week ago) Permalink

second box set is definitely happening -Robert mentioned it at a London book launch/concert thing late last year

jamiesummerz, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 11:20 (one week ago) Permalink

Thanks Jamie!

michaellambert, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 14:25 (one week ago) Permalink

I'd been meaning to read the book for a while, so I just bought it. No library in our multi-library system had a copy!

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 15:01 (one week ago) Permalink

Listening to Oceans Apart a lot, and to the '78-'90 comp. "Born to a Family" and "Second Hand Furniture." Oceans, with all its interesting feints and digressions, is the realization of their super-MOR Glen Campbell- John Phillips-Jimmy Webb concept. Only comparable fairly recent album I can think of is Freedy Johnston's similarly Webb-ian Neon Repairman.

eddhurt, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 17:15 (one week ago) Permalink

Hmm, never really thought of that album as particular MOR in style. Anyway, "Finding You" is a beaut. That and "The Clock" are total late-era Grant keepers, though all three comeback albums are strong in their own ways, with the former two charmingly tentative (in a sense) and the last one totally assertive in its swing-for-the-fences confidence.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 17:27 (one week ago) Permalink

super-MOR Glen Campbell- John Phillips-Jimmy Webb

OTM

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 17:44 (one week ago) Permalink

Oceans Apart is their great record, after several excellent ones.

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 17:45 (one week ago) Permalink

Oceans Apart is excellent but it's also a disappointingly bad master. This was the album that led me to learn more about the "loudness wars". I remembering reading that Yep Roc were considering a remaster but saw nothing further. Did this ever happen?

doug watson, Thursday, 18 January 2018 16:29 (six days ago) Permalink

It did. I bought the remastered version (after trading in the original) and it does indeed sound better.

Jazzbo, Thursday, 18 January 2018 17:54 (six days ago) Permalink

Lomax also made replacement discs but I never got around to requesting one.

michaellambert, Thursday, 18 January 2018 23:36 (six days ago) Permalink

Downy Mildew: Classic or Mold Spore

Hi! We're from Downy Mildew! And we've got a new album out called Mincing Steps!
This is all I know of them. Hilarious, nonetheless.

― Ally C, Wednesday, February 20, 2002 8:00 PM (fifteen years ago)

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Friday, 19 January 2018 22:37 (five days ago) Permalink

The above being a quote from Live On Snap, which I prefer somewhat to That Striped Sunlight Sound.

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:28 (four days ago) Permalink

Have to see it took me ages to get into this band originally because I was put off by the post-punk yelping on the first album. Now I have changed my tune and am in completely in awe of the, um, fecundity and longevity of their creative partnership.

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:08 (four days ago) Permalink

The Go-Betweens, that is, not Downy Mildew

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 January 2018 18:25 (four days ago) Permalink

The first album works in its way. The bass playing is enthusiastic and amazingly good for someone who apparently hadn't done it before. Just listened to it the other day and it's actually full of great ideas that are executed with a certain flair. In the post-Beefheart sweepstakes that record and all their stuff is a pretty amazing thing to contemplate, altho I also listened to "Just a King in Mirrors" the other day, and that's one of their best Velvets rips. The guitar obbligato in "Second Hand Furniture" is very Beefheart. Not that it may have been intentional. The non-idiomatic idioms are so fucking elusive somehow even when they play funk in the song that goes "they're taking heaven away" it's not quite like Pylon or Gang of Four at the same time, or even Pavement later, though lots of similarities.

eddhurt, Saturday, 20 January 2018 19:14 (four days ago) Permalink

All well and good but what about the first album, Send Me A Lullaby?

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:12 (four days ago) Permalink

not very good

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:14 (four days ago) Permalink

But yeah, the Beefheart similarity you point out is useful to contemplate.

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:17 (four days ago) Permalink

It's not as good as Before Hollywood etc but I also don't think it's a bad record. I suppose technically I would agree it's not very good, it's just good.

Mind you I absolutely love the Lost Album stuff, so maybe the early stuff is just more to my tastes. I don't think Send Me A Lullaby is as good as the Lost Album though.

Colonel Poo, Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:30 (four days ago) Permalink

Me neither

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 20 January 2018 20:34 (four days ago) Permalink

As a piece of music the first album is quite good and as a collection of songs it's just not done with enough skill, so I don't think it's bad at all. Get a little band together with a good bassist and do that stuff now with a couple of singers who enunciate a bit more and can put those words across, that record would come alive like a Pylon dance party or something.

eddhurt, Sunday, 21 January 2018 12:47 (three days ago) Permalink

The singing is pretty bad on Send Me A Lullaby. Plus the songs are trying too hard to be all angular and post-punk, something they didn't completely shake off till 16 Lovers Lane.

Whiney Houston (Tom D.), Sunday, 21 January 2018 13:14 (three days ago) Permalink

... I like them angular and awkward but they weren't very good at it that stage, apart from Lindy, who was easily the best musician in the band.

Whiney Houston (Tom D.), Sunday, 21 January 2018 13:16 (three days ago) Permalink

I'm not keen on their pre-Before Hollywood stuff. I agree with Tom D; they were aiming for an angularity that they weren't proficient enough to pull off

Well bissogled trotters (Michael B), Sunday, 21 January 2018 14:07 (three days ago) Permalink

I think the tension between the sprung-rhythm aspect of their style (and their fairly amazingly unobtrusive use of the 3/4-/4/4 tension thruout) and the Guy Van Zandt-Towne Clark Parsons aspect of their songwriting is what makes Spring Hill Fair unique and probably their best album overall if Tallulah isn't. Esp. on the versions of the material from around then that ended up on the box, "Part Company" and "Heaven Says" and "Rare Breed." I think they moving toward straight rock or singer-songwriter rock on all their early records, actually, apart from the first one, certainly by Liberty Belle it's just more straightforward and more attuned to normal rock dynamics, I guess.

eddhurt, Sunday, 21 January 2018 16:37 (three days ago) Permalink

For me the best of the original run are Tallulah and Liberty Belle. Do you still dislike the bridge of “Bachelor Kisses,” Alfred? The Radio Dept. cover I recently mentioned seems to dispense with it.

Curly Morlocks (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 21 January 2018 23:08 (three days ago) Permalink

Oceans, um, flows so nicely, and seems to have no clunkers or clunky moments and still has some of their best songs so I am leaning towards agreeing with Alfred that it is the best overall.

Eloi's Comin' (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 22 January 2018 03:22 (two days ago) Permalink

Go-Betweens are my favorite band ever, and Oceans Apart is my least favorite album of theirs! The mastering is truly horrendous. It's so choked.

Similar to the recent XTC poll, a tracks poll would be pretty interesting as they changed so much over the years and there doesn't seem to be a consensus among die-hards. I know people who only like the Lost Album stuff, other people who only like the post-punk/angular crazier zone, and other people who only like the swooning, lush straight-forward stuff, and even people who only like the second-wave albums.

SA, Tuesday, 23 January 2018 23:32 (yesterday) Permalink

Worse than BYBO or Send Me a Lullaby?

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 January 2018 23:34 (yesterday) Permalink

at any rate the remastering problem was solved

morning wood truancy (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 23 January 2018 23:34 (yesterday) Permalink

I struggle to rank the recordings but I can say that I almost never feel any need to revisit Oceans Apart or BYBO.

Not all of Lullaby works but I've listened to it an awful lot over the decades. I'm very forgiving when things are so odd rhythmically.

Maximum big surprise! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 03:45 (four hours ago) Permalink


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