Come Here, Come Hither: this Go-Betweens shit is Through
: "Hammer the Hammer"The Go-Betweens
: "Rock and Roll Friend
Okay, it’s been more than a week, but this giant Go-Betweens rigamorole is finally ended here, once and for goodness’s sake. This was supposed to go up yesterday, but work and laziness intervened in equal measure. But this wondrous Thursday is as exceedingly fine a day as any for our final thoughts on the Go-Betweens, so let’s shove off into our murky estuary of overblown rhetoric and addle-brained faux-insight.
I only own four cds by this band, and two of them are “greatest hits”-ish compilations. I dig them, but clearly am not a superfan like our friend SA
. Some of my favorite songs by them aren’t from any of their albums, though. I don’t know if they were released as singles, or b-sides, or what, but there are a few songs from some early ‘90’s compilation that don’t appear on any of the albums or Bellavista Terrace
, the best-of released in ’99. “Hammer the Hammer”
is one of these songs. I do believe it was a single, actually, and, from the sound of it, obviously one from the early ‘80’s. I suppose I could do some research, but I’d rather make use of assumptions and conjecture than actual facts or knowledge. Either way, “Hammer the Hammer” is a good one, having a bit more of a late ‘70’s, early ‘80’s post-punk feel than your typical Go-Betweens jaunt. It’s simpler and more direct than most of their albums, catchy enough to be a single, but almost lightweight enough to be a tossed-off b-side. The lyrics don’t have any special appeal for me, really, but I do think the vocals are some of the finest in the band’s oeuvre. Sort of like “People Say”, this one bears a resemblance to their antipodean contemporaries from the Flying Nun label, more so than the vast majority of their recordings. It’s just a nice pop song, you know?
Okay, yeah, “Rock and Roll Friend”
is fruity. It’s also beautiful, though, in a slightly more professional Sarah Records
kind of way. Again, it’s very straight-forward and simple melodically, and lyrically no bearer of amazing insight or emotion. But those shimmering chords, that earnest guitar figure, the utterly basic yet agreeable bassline, and that winsome guitar solo at the end (an obvious precursor to the sterling outro to Imbruglia’s ”Torn”
) are all, for me, undeniable. This sounds like Echo and the Bunnymen
’s more glorious moments, but without all the melodrama and bookish brooding. This comes from the same early ‘90’s compilation, called something plain like The Go-Betweens ’78-‘90
, which is a much better introduction to the band than Bellavista Terrace.
And alright, that’s it. No more Go-Betweens, ever. We’ve killed them dead. Join us next week as we start our tribute to Huey Lewis
. But not the News
. The News can go fuck themselves, for all we care. Except for that slick cat who’s always smoking, though, he’s pretty cool.