Back in the days when Comet Records existed in Cork, I got into The Go-Betweens (Comet later became Plugd, which has now moved around the corner from Washington Street to the Triskel Arts Centre building). In those days, Comet used to sell Beggars Banquet releases on cassette for a fiver - and in those Walkman days, cassettes were my medium of choice. And so I found The Go-Betweens: 1978-1990. I was vaguely aware of the band - I think I had heard Bachelor kisses on Dave Fanning's radio show a few times during the 80's. But I didn't own anything by the band. Of course, typical me, to become interested in the band after they'd broken up (in fact, both Grant McLennan and Robert Forster had released their first solo efforts by this time). I think it was the sleevenotes that sold me on it. Each song had a short note from either Grant or Robert. Like this one by Grant, for Bye bye pride -
Cairns is a lazy, small town full of boats and cane fields. It is also unbearably hot.…
Great to see Sean O’Hagan again recently back in the People’s Republic.
A sticky midsummer evening. Not so much sunshine but still with a promise of summer about it. In the background the lush green sward of the pitch and the hedgerows and St Vincent’s Church in Sundays Well towering on the hill across the river.
Sash windows. Smokers (most of them cricketers wearing the club blazers as opposed to gig goers per se) watching from outside on the balcony.
There was a convivial atmosphere in the long room. Something like a reunion of old friends. A room decorated by black and white photos of cricket teams. Behind the small stage a giant framed drawing on the wall of the Cork Exhibition in 1902 which took place on this very ground. Where we sported and played.
An audience that came up in the 1970s and 80s. Who might have seen Sean play in Microdisney in one of Cork’s dingy/beautiful venues. There may have been some nostalgia in the air although Sean always comes across as …
Delicious mixture of the propulsion of Stereolab and the textures and crunch of My Bloody Valentine from this Dublin band’s debut album.
There are many things to love about the album – the sense of adventure, the absorption in ideas for their own sake (an improv spirit maybe), the embrace at the same time of pop melodies, the sheer breadth of sounds generated throughout the album – but I think my favourite is that great quality in any band or album, not trying too hard.
I can think of ten other bands who might have taken a rough draft of these songs and turned them into bombast, beating you over the head with the ideas and in the process murdering any beauty.
Percolator have that wonderful thing, restraint, so instead they stick with the ideas, the raw elements and see them through, not just as means to an end but as diamonds in themselves.
In this I would put them next to labelmates The Altered Hours. A band with vision and in it for the long haul. Plus with obvious musi…