Thursday, 18 July 2019

The Triffids ‎– The Triffids Present The Black Swan (1989)

Style: Folk Rock, Pop Rock, Indie Rock
Format: CDVinyl
Label: White Hot, Polystar, Island Records

01.   Too Hot To Move, Too Hot To Think
02.   American Sailors
03.   Falling Over You
04.   Goodbye Little Boy
05.   Bottle Of Love
06.   The Spinning Top Song
07.   Butterflies Into Worms
08.   The Clown Prince
09.   Good Fortune Rose
10.   New Year's Greetings (The Country Widower)
11.   One Mechanic Town
12.   Blackeyed Susan
13.   Fairytale Love

Acoustic Guitar – David McComb, Evil Graham Lee
Backing Vocals – Evil Graham Lee, Phil Kakulas
Bass – Martyn P. Casey
Double Bass – Phil Kakulas
Drum Programming – Alsy MacDonald
Drums – Alsy MacDonald
Electric Guitar – David McComb, Evil Graham Lee
Keyboards – Jill Birt
Organ – David McComb
Piano – Adam Peters
Steel Guitar – Evil Graham Lee
Tambourine – Alsy MacDonald
Vocals – David McComb
Producer (Assistant) – David McComb
Producer, Engineer – Stephen Street

Black Swan was intended to be the Triffids' White Album. As is the often the way with such things, it wasn't - though the band's leader, the late David McComb, certainly had no shortage of ideas on how acoustic and electronic music could be put together. (Too many ideas, in fact: half of this could be painlessly dropped.) As cousins of The The and Lloyd Cole's sweepingly dramatic, lyrical, 1980s indie-rock, the Triffids are placed neatly between Orange Juice's shorts'n'sandals romanticism and pin-sharp 2008 indie-pop such as the Elephants. But they're also capable of producing some wonderfully strange music. Good Fortune Rose has a beautiful vocal from the band's keyboard player, Jill Burt; a rather charming banjo part; New Order melodies; and Run-DMC kick-drums - a sadly rare occurrence in pop. Fairytale Love invents Tindersticks, and The Spinning Top Song throbs like Yello. Falling Over You even features a rap. In 1989, it seems, anything was possible. 
Rob Fitzpatrick / The Guardian

The Triffids ‎– Calenture (1987)

Style: Folk Rock, Pop Rock, Indie Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: White Hot, Polystar, Island Records

01.   Bury Me Deep In Love
02.   Kelly's Blues
03.   A Trick Of The Light
04.   Hometown Farewell Kiss
05.   Unmade Love
06.   Open For You
07.   Holy Water
08.   Blinder By The Hour
09.   Vagabond Holes
10.   Jerdacuttup Man
11.   Calenture
12.   Save What You Can

Backing Vocals Arranged By– Craig Leon
Strings Arranged By, Co-producer – Adam Peters
Music By, Lyrics By – David McComb
Producer – Gil Norton
Musicians – Alsy MacDonald, Ben Hoffnung, Billy Kinsley, "Evil" Graham Lee, Jane Norton, Jill Birt, Keith Hancock, Martyn Casey, Mick Doonan, Nick Allum, Sean Pugh

The Triffids were never labeled as a Christian band, but there's an undeniably spiritual feel to several of the songs on Calenture. Moreover, vocalist David McComb spews his words with the fiery passion of a backwoods preacher. The orchestral sweep of "Bury Me Deep in Love" recalls the Waterboys' expansive sound; the lyrics are unmistakably religious as McComb looks for salvation in a chapel. Fans of Nick Cave will immediately be seduced by McComb's bluesy croon; deep and brimming with palpable sorrow, McComb's voice never dwindles in intensity. "A Trick of the Light" opens like a lullaby with its twinkling synths; the pitter-patter of the drums augments the track's dreamlike ambience. The lyrics, however, read like the tortured confessions of a man obsessed with an ex-lover: "You remind very much/Of someone that I used to know/We used to take turns crying all night." The striking images in Calenture illustrate the predicaments of each song's characters. The hallucinations suffered by the woman in "Kelly's Blues" are vividly drawn: "Her tree blew over/I shook her branches down/The wind and I, we howled around her door/Now there's a buckle in the sky, lightning on the shore." The grim "Vagabond Holes" details the anger of romantic rejection with unflinching bitterness. Stoked by sinister guitars and pummeling drums, McComb unleashes a volley of vindictive thoughts: "No one's going to love you when you're wrinkled and old/No teeth in your gum, your hair the colour of snow." The Triffids released one more LP, The Black Swan, before the band split up and McComb sadly passed away. McComb's explosive rage at the finale of "Vagabond Holes" should have been the Triffids' last gasp, an unsettling blast of scarred emotions that isn't easy to shake off. 
Michael Sutton / AllMusic