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Quite simply put, The Go-Betweens are the best Australian band there has ever been and quite probably will ever be. Their music is on a majestical par with Jeff Buckley, while many people have called them the Antipodean Smiths.
Although they released many studio albums, this compiled 'best of' is a pretty good starting place for the uninitiated - of which there are likely to be thousands.
The Go-Betweens are virtual unknowns in the northern hemisphere, and on a recent trip to Australia and New Zealand I was surprised to discover they are not exactly household names there either.
That such an extraordinary talent remains largely undiscovered is one of the great musical travesties of our time. Their story ended sadly, too, with the tragic suicide of singer Grant McLennan in 2006.
From this album, "Cattle and Cane" is an undoubted highlight, and was nominated as one of the greatest 30 Australian songs written not so long ago.
But my personal highlight is "Bachelor Kisses", partly because it sounds a bit like The Smiths but mainly because it sounds like nothing else Ive heard before or since.
The Go-Betweens were just a fantastic Aussie pop band that deserved much greater success than their (rabidly devoted!) cult following. Forming in the late 70's they were UK labelmates with Orange Juice and Aztec Camera in the early '80s, and there are quite a few similarities - gorgeous catchy pop tunes twinned with great lyrics.
They've also been compared to The Smiths, but while I still have time for the great Marr tunes, Morrissey's miserablist moans have less and less appeal every year after leaving the sixth form - while The Go-Betweens treat you like an adult!
The core songwriting team of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan put out a string of superb albums in the 80's before splitting up and then reforming in the '90s. This CD was released in 1999 and features highlights of their classic 80's releases. All the tracks included are great - the mournful minor key of The Wrong Road, the gorgeous, tender Dive for Your Memory and the pure pop genius of Streets of Your Town (how was it not a hit?) - to name but a few.
Both Forster and McLennanhave also released solo discs. Sadly McLennan died in 2006 at just 48 years old. Forster continues to record, and his most recent offering, the Evangelist is currently popping up in music journos 'Best Album of 2008' lists.
If you've never heard of the Go-Betweens, buy this CD and then you'll want to go buy all their other stuff!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Was There Anything I Could Do
2 Head Full Of Steam
3 That Way
4 Part Company
5 Cattle And Cane
6 Draining The Pool For You
7 Wrong Road
8 Bye Bye Pride
9 Man O' Sand To Girl O' Sea
10 House That Jack Kerouac Built
11 Bachelor Kisses
12 Streets Of Your Town
13 Spring Rain
14 Dive For Your Memory