Tag Archives: Go Betweens

480. Love Me – “Fuel”

This bloody band really weren’t thinking about their subsequent searchability with their very generic choice of name and album titles.

It’s a shame anonymity has been thrust upon these guys, especially in light of their outstanding debut.

This follow-up doesn’t quite cut it, however, and might as well be judged by its messy and ugly album cover.

The band tone down the twang on this CD. My preferred vocalist, Madeline, seems to get less airtime (and no particularly gripping tunes).  The smoky voice of Mandy doesn’t do it for me, while the dude’s efforts tend to grate (most noticeably on Chestnut Mare, although said track is also the catchiest on here).

There are a few nice moments of violin, but this album somehow sounds more dated than its predecessor, especially in its evocation of all things Go Betweens whenever Tom grabs the mike. That shouldn’t be a bad thing in and of itself, but on tracks like Halfway Heart and Empty Taxi it does just all feel like a second-rate substitute.

I just looked it up and realised Amanda Brown (the wielder of the violin among other string instruments on here) is indeed the Go-Between of said name.  But that doesn’t justify the homage.

File under: Lacks spark

474. Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

I thought I’d break up the Liquor Giants quartet with this recent acquisition (via the very generous Andy).

Diving into this album was a surefire recipe for a delayed review.

This is not a cheap and dirty nine-track exercise pumped out one afternoon in the studio. Rather it is a finely structured 16-track artwork, exploring the nuances of suburban life in all its grandeur and minutiae.

Their ‘Funeral’ release impressed back on review #7, and this is a rosier, slightly less melodramatic counterpoint. It’s still as arty as hell, with a lusciousness and splendour that makes this feel like an event.

Concessions to popdom can be found however, such as on the title track (which sounds like a less angsty Ed Harcourt):

I keeping hearing wafts of Go Betweens on here amongst all the Bowie and Morrissey elements, and that’s a great achievement, immersed as the Queenslanders were in a similar homage to the beauty and heartache of the day-to-day.

It isn’t all fresh-cut lawn, sprinklers and Stepford Wives.  The band also glam rock it better than most.  Month of May had me picturing stacked platform boots and eye-makeup (sadly, that isn’t the look in this live version):

File under: (Art-) Rocking the suburbs

444. Ed Kuepper – “Sings His Greatest Hits For You”

From one Antipodean punk-survivor with an enormous back catalogue but little to show in terms of chart success, to another…

Former Saint Ed Kuepper is a much more mainstream artist than kooky Knox, but his output seems to occur outside the ‘industry’ of music in Australia.

It’s hard to understand why when you listen to this 1996 collect of his best tracks from 1992-1995 (I told you he was prolific).  On a musical Venn diagram Ed sits at some intersection of the Go Betweens, Nick Cave and Dave Graney.

He shares a portion of the flair for the slightly twisted or flawed arty pop of Forster and McLellan, the atmospheric darkness of Cave’s less gothic works, and that irritating  pompous vocal styling that Graney overplays.

There are some wonderful patches of vocal pacing and songwriting on this. I’m With You‘s “fogged up car window pane” is Joplin-esque. La Di Doh is catchier than I’d like, and the opener The Way I Made You Feel is what AOR radio stations should be playing:

At times Kuepper isn’t quite the sum of his parts, and this album lacks a blow you away moment. But when The Church, The Triffids and Died Pretty are winning accolades, so should EK.

File under: Not as intriguing as Winnie, or as refreshing as the beer