The

Mick

Sinclair

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The Go-Betweens

November

1984

Zigzag

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As their man Robert Foster notes: "There are a small group of people who like the Go-Betweens intensely. I see the band as having good melodies married to interesting lyrics which are sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure and sometimes humorous."

Their first LP, 'Send Me A Lullaby', was plainly weird. A state heightened by its being recorded in the comparatively barren sounding small-studio style of Australia. But then as now an innocent listener could get tangled in the mysteries of the compositions. 'Send Me A Lullaby' had close-to-melodrama tales which carried a parched and druggish quality, ensnaring and leaving a person giddy for more.

And there was no more until the 'Before Hollywood' beauty of two years ago. Between times, the ensemble had shifted to London, absorbed a degree of their surroundings and made a record of greater recording accomplishment imbued with striking melodic guts. Not to mention the best songish platter for several millenniums.

And then there was a gap. Rough Trade who released both the above LPs declined to finance a third. This news reached The Go-Betweens while they were touring America's east coast and, in New York at least, causing queues to form around the block.

"It was a very strange time," recalls Robert, "their decision was quite sudden and quite surprising. The next day we went out on the street looking for a label that would take us. Fortunately we found Sire and the arrangement we have with them is very similar to what we had with Rough Trade."

Robert states that the prime function of the band is to travel. That's why we left Australia, we needed to meet new people and see what we would bump into." Which I think is as good a reason as any for forming a group.

"We're more insular here. In Australia a lot of our friends have cars, the cities are more spread out so we're more mobile. Here you tend to wake up and spend most of the day in the same place. This makes you studious. In Australia everyone in the group tends to be more breezy, more light-headed. Australia is more a pleasure society with more money than here. That's probably reflected in the music."

Strange to be half a world away from your personal roots yet closer to your musical ones. The songs that Robert and Grant are now strumming in private are set to be recorded in New York City.

"In a way it's a spiritual home due to the institutions like Broadway and Tin Pan Alley. I'm aware that America isn't anything to be worshipped, there's so much myth and folklore that come out and most of it's garbage. But I'd like to record an album in NYC. Most of the people who've done great works at some stage in their career have gone through NYC and done something there."

 

 

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