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Triffids - Wide Open Road: The Best of the Triffids

  by Jon Rogers

published: 26 / 4 / 2010

Triffids - Wide Open Road: The Best of the Triffids
Label: Domino Records
Format: CD


Excellent compilation and also introduction to highly regarded 80's Australian band the Triffids

Perhaps it is a reflection on the geography of the vast country itself and its location to other English-speaking nations but Australia has a reputation for big-sounding rock anthems that just sound, well, big. Think of AC/DC’s stadium-pleasing heavy rock and INXS’ radio-friendly melodies. Then there’s Kylie Minogue’s cutsey pop. Of course there are exceptions like the Birthday Party and Nick Cave, the Saints and the Go-Betweens as well as more obscure (at least to British ears) groups like the Scientists, the Moodists and Hunters and Collectors. The Triffids, although being highly-praised during their lifetime by the critics, couldn’t really breakout of that cult status tag. Much beloved by those in the know but largely ignored by everyone else. Singer and leader David McComb, who was the focal point of the group, had an uneasy relationship with that canonical element of Aussie music. That sheer panoramic vastness was perfectly captured in ‘Wide Open Road’ with its big chorus and grandiose production but McComb was much more interested in personal nuances rather than making big, grandstanding gestures, using his acute sense of songwriting ability to craft heartfelt songs, usually tinted with a sense of disappointment. ‘Beautiful Waste’ and ‘Lonely Search’ captures that perfectly. McComb’s great talent was an ability to write beautiful pop melodies with a writer’s eye for observation and detail, much like Flannery O’Connor. Great, powerful songs, keenly observed and detailed. This compilation, essentially a taster for the deluxe box set ‘Come Ride With Me’ – or perhaps an alternative for those who can’t fork out the price of a box set that contains ten CDs – gives a great introduction to the band from Perth, giving a broad overview of them. Fans will obviously bemoan the fact that their own personal favourite has been overlooked but ‘Wide Open Road’ gives a good sampler and wets the appetite for more. It might be a cliché but great songwriting has that timeless quality but now with hindsight The Triffids production rather dates them. On songs like ‘The Seabirds’ there’s that slow build up and there’s just too much going on at times: a touch of strings here, a dramatic pause there. Which hints at a spot of over-production and perhaps a sense of a band just trying a bit too hard. But that was the production style at the time. ‘Wide Open Road’ acts as a calling card, an introduction to a band that drew on post-punk roots like Nick Cave as well as the more melodic The Go-Betweens and had the ability to just write beautiful songs. What more do you need?

Track Listing:-
1 Wide Open Road
2 Red Pony
3 Reverie
4 Beautiful Waste
5 Hell Of A Summer
6 Property is Condemned
7 Raining Pleasure
8 The Seabirds
9 Lonely Stretch
10 Stolen Property
11 Kathy Knows
12 Bury Me Deep In Love
13 A Trick Of The Light
14 Jerdacuttup Man
15 Too Hot To Move, Too Hot To Think
16 Goodbye Little Boy
17 New Years Greetings
18 Save What You Can

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