The Go-Betweens - ‘Tal­lu­lah’ (1987)

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS -

They made at least three of the great­est pop al­bums of all time, and the lush and pol­ished Tal­lu­lah sits a tad awk­wardly be­tween the two re­leased ei­ther side dur­ing The Go-Betweens mid-1980s peak. It’s a sonic leap away from the pre­dom­i­nantly mono­chrome al­bum num­ber four, Lib­erty Belle and The Black Di­a­mond Ex­press, and a long way from their fol­low-up swan­song 16 Lover’s Lane, which painfully sound­tracked their sad and slow demise.

It was never a mat­ter of giv­ing up. The Go-Betweens tried ev­ery­thing to catch the eye of the masses. This was was ear­marked for a ma­jor push in the US. In­stead, it was the be­gin­ning of the end. Their ef­fort was gar­gan­tuan. They left it all on the pitch.

They had trav­elled from Bris­bane through France and on to Lon­don is search of the spring­board that would cat­a­pult them to fame. They strove to reach the higher ground on their own terms, the cre­ative way. There were as many de­trac­tors as arch devo­tees. Their brazen ap­proach was the po­lar op­po­site of The Smiths, that year’s love.

But their mu­sic spoke for it­self and it seems to say ever more to say with age. With Tal­lu­lah they reached for the stars, pulled more pro­duc­tion tricks from the heav­ens than ever be­fore and en­listed the multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist Amanda Brown to add fur­ther sparkle to their sound.

The great song­writ­ing part­ner­ship of Grant McLen­nan and Robert Forster was al­ways based on dif­fer­ing and at times al­most con­trast­ing styles and per­son­al­i­ties. McLen­nan was ro­man­tic and wist­ful, Forster far more world-weary, wise, cyn­i­cal and funny. The per­fect coun­ter­point. The lines they weave here are their strong­est yet. The re­main one of the great song­writ­ing duos of our age.

Their chem­istry pro­pels the sound in new di­rec­tions. Love is in the air. A kind of ro­man­tic grace per­vades the at­mos­phere. The sky is the limit. Forster is patently lib­er­ated by his part­ner’s up­swing in mood.

A trick of the light and this record could be a ubiq­ui­tous fix­ture in the great­est records of all time. Who knows which way the wind is go­ing to blow?

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