Saturday, 24 November 2012

Top 102 Albums. No 92 Born Sandy Devotional

Top 102 Albums. No 92 
Born Sandy Devotional - The Triffids

As some of you may be aware, I am listing 102 favourite albums, having joined in with similar listings at Cathedrals of Sound and Hissyfit. Tonight's listing at Cathedrals of Sound is The Black Swan by The Triffids, which was sketched to appear in my list.

For added value, I thought that I'd change my selection and having wavered with the thought of including a compilation of the early EP's which includes the extraordinary  Bright Lights Big City, indeed the whole Field of Glass EP and their great version of St James Infirmary along with other great tracks and a violent, glassy edge which is subsumed largely by doomed romanticism as their career progressed. But few people do doomed romanticism as well as The Triffids.
And although their world was the wide open roads of Australia David McComb's lyrics were always nailed to the floor by perfectly observed details and quotidian experience such as "dirty dishes piling up in the sink" in Too Hot to Move, Too Hot to Think on The Black Swan. Or the "dog licking drips from our garage tap" in Life of Crime.

For me this album will always centre around a run of four songs which are the last two on the first side and the first two on the second side of my vinyl copy.  This is one of the great midfield combinations, up there with Xavi and Iniesta. Ominous  and overwhelming., especially if you have to face them on a Sunday afternoon. "What! They've got Xavi and Iniesta, I'm going home."  The songs are Tarrilup Bridge, Lonely Stretch, Wide Open Road and Life of Crime. I don't know how many times I cued these songs on vinyl. There is something of sexual excitement and release in their best work, with an undercurrent of menace and fragility.

That's not to say that the rest of the album is weak. It's not. It's just that I'm instinctively drawn to these four songs whenever I listen to this record. Personal Things, which follows Life of Crime is close to the other four, perhaps it would have joined them had I not been so in love with Life of Crime that I was always dissappointed when it ended. They seem at once oppressive and claustrophobic and also suggestive of the vast spaces and the stories and lives that accumulate into this passionate mess we call humanity.

"Sunlight was hot, and your mother was calling 
My chest burning, rising falling 
Dog licking drips from our garage tap 
Miles from nowhere just a little dot on the map 

I believe you will lead me to a life of crime"

Maybe this is the album I should have been choosing all along. Listen to the whole damn thing but if short on time start at track four.


  1. Listen to this now I'd forgotten how good it is.
    'Wide Open Road' was always the track that I'd play. There is a sense of space and the feeling of disillusionment and insignificance that grand scale can bring. For me The Triffids were the Stones to the GoBetweens' Beatles...

    1. Good analogy. Although both were more notable for their commercial failure than their success, barring Kylie and Jason tying the knot to Bury me Deep in Love! And who are The Birthday Party/The Bad Seeds in this analogy?
      Have you ever listened to the collaboration between the Go-Betweens and The Birthday Party, The Tuff Monks? http://open.spotify.com/track/0lg2Q8h5sp7jvirZ7KMtEr

    2. I'll go with The Animals as The Birthday Party...
      Is 'By Chance' the Tuff Monks? The chords make e think of early Prefab Sprout...

    3. By Chance is The Go-Betweens. After The Fireworks is Tuff Monks - I don't think it would remind anyone of Prefab Sprout.
      The Animals - perhaps - I was thinking Them. ALthough really it would have to be The Stooges but that ruins the geographical purity of the thing.

  2. I came to this one late having got Calenture first and the black swan beofre working backwards to in the pine and born sandy. Agree with TRev - wide open road is the best one on there

  3. wonderful I agree, although black swan by them my favourite album ,all the best stu

    1. Black Swan my favourite too but, it having already been extolled elsewhere, I felt that this deserved championing too.