Album Reviews of the 80s
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The Triffids, "Born Sandy Devotional"
Review by: Julien Peter Benney
After several promising but underdeveloped EPs, singer/songwriter David McComb and his band The Triffids moved from Perth to London about 1985. On this record, they developed thier sound fully to create a most distinctive sound, atmospheric and string-driven rock but with McComb's powerful and deep voice giving a ferver and sense of space the recalls U2 quite closely. His songs focus chiefly on images of the remote outback of Australia, though some focus on personal problems, as with "Life Of Crime" and "Personal Things". McComb's lyrical sense is backed up by much improved production to give the band its most tuneful set of songs. Alsy McDonald produces some fine drumming, notably on the brilliant "Chicken Killer", and David and brother Robert McComb provide a melodic base lacking from their earlier work, notably on the closing ballad "Tender Is The Night (The Long Fidelity" on which keyboardist Jill Birt takes on lead vocals and provides an utterly different perspective to the band: rather than fervent, somewhat U2-ish rockers, with Jill Birt singing the image is like an atmospheric singer/songwriter. "Wide Open Road" is another standout, and indeed contains David McComb's most fervent vocal ever (he died in 1999). "Life Of Crime" shows the band at its most powerful and stripped-down, and the epic "Stolen Property" shows Birt developing her keyboard playing which would blossom on "Calenture". This must rank as an overlooked gem, an atmospheric rock record with unusually fervent power and passion.
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