...Glorious pretty much sums them up.
Nick Reynolds 2004-10-28
Heart, passion, intelligence; Australia's Go-Betweens have all this and more. They have the tingle factor, that magic you get when music connects directly to your emotions. This re-release of their fourth album is a welcome treat.
By the early eighties punk had encouraged the idea that anyone could make music. But, when they first formed the Go Betweens were far away from London and New York. They were not your standard punk band. Instead they performed their own take on the pop rock that they loved, with jangly guitars and Dylan and Lou Reed influences. The songs are original in sensibility and structure, like the lopsided folk waltz of ''The Ghost And The Black Hat'' on this album.
Most bands have one good songwriter. The Go-Betweens have two great ones; Robert Forster and Grant McLennan. Robert is cerebral, discursive and casual, Grant more upbeat and romantic. Both of them are unashamedly literary. On later albums the difference between them is more marked. But here they don't sound like two different people, more like two halves of the same brain.
The album opens with the optimistic shuffle of ''Spring Rain'' one of their finest moments. Then there's the gorgeous string arrangement and lingering regret of ''The Wrong Road'' and the glamorous, wonderful ''Twin Layers Of Lightning''. If you like lyrics, and rambling imagery, you'll love these songs. There are ten of them in thirty six minutes.
Only the flat production lets them down; something they often had trouble with. But alongside Spring Hill Fair this is their best album. It's part of a series of re-releases with extra tracks and packaging. It ends with the joyous stumble of ''Apology Accepted'', a three-chord classic that turns the embarrassment of love and sex into glorious pop. And glorious pretty much sums them up.