1987, Music

Calenture (1987) by The Triffids

I can’t speak for the Australian critics, but i feel like the American critics who went gaga over this record are guilty of a fairly common problem, where they over-hype a band from a “smaller” English-speaking country like Australia or Canada when if the same band appeared in the US or the UK they might not care so much. The Triffids remind me of Weddings, Parties Anything; not in their sound, as they do not sound a like, but in the fact that they both have great band names, but more in how American music critics celebrated their really pedestrian records.

So this isn’t great. The songs are okay but aren’t exceptional (I’m not going to remember any of them) and if I can mention another Jangle Pop band I don’t like, at least The Smiths have pretty decent songs.

The arrangements are neutered by the ’80s production – play your fucking cymbals!!! – and the desire to elevate the lead singer’s voice so far forward in the mix. (When there’s a distorted guitar, it is buried.) The only track that gives me a hint of a more interesting band is the title track, a solo piano piece that sounds utterly unlike everything else on the record.

I just don’t get why stuff like this is celebrated. The songs are meh, the arrangements aren’t great, the production is dated and it doesn’t sound influential to me.



PS McComb sounds way too much like Julian Cope.

All tracks written by David McComb, unless otherwise noted.

  1. “Bury Me Deep in Love” 4:04
  2. “Kelly’s Blues” 4:34
  3. “Trick of the Light” (David McComb, Graham Lee) 3:50
  4. “Hometown Farewell Kiss” 4:33
  5. “Unmade Love” 4:01
  6. “Open for You” (Jill Birt) 3:05
  7. “Holy Water” 3:17
  8. “Blinder by the Hour” 4:24
  9. “Vagabond Holes” 3:57
  10. “Jerdacuttup Man” (McComb, James Paterson) 4:59
  11. “Calenture” 1:10
  12. “Save What You Can” (McComb, Paterson) 4:30
  • Jill Birt – keyboards
  • Martyn P. Casey – bass guitar
  • Graham Lee – guitar, autoharp
  • Alsy MacDonald – drums, backing vocals
  • David McComb – vocals, guitar, arrangement (strings)
  • Robert McComb – guitar, backing vocals, violin

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