Monday, October 26, 2009

Album Review: The Go-Betweens - The Friends of Rachel Worth

This is the first of the Go-Betweens reunion albums. Released in 2000, it finds Robert Forster and Grant McLennan (RIP) backed by the band Sleater-Kinney, who I am not really familiar with.

The material is generally mellower than their 80s material but it does contain some trademark jangly guitars and some very wistful numbers. Grant was always the poppier songwriter, and so it follows here, the album opening with his Magic in Here. Anchored by a brittle yet beautifully constructed riff, it ambles along nicely before leading into Robert's wonderful Spirit. It has a simple but utterly addictive guitar figure powering this mellow, elder-statesman like song. The flamboyant Robert Forster persona of yore has been replaced by a world-weary, wistful storyteller, and it suits him well.

2 more uptempo tracks follow, where the guitars have been beefed up a little, particularly on German Farmhouse, which is a Lou Reed-like rocker talking of his years of seclusion(!).

Most of the rest of the material is mellower though in general more downbeat than their previous material. It still contains 'sunshine', though it's more like winter sun breaking over a frosty landscape.

It's a very pleasant listen which should appeal to fans of the band and any new listeners wondering if they should check them out. Yes you should.