The Triffids CD reissues reviewed

Music Reviews
The Triffids CD reissues reviewed
By
Apr 23, 2007, 03:49

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THE TRIFFIDS In the Pines & Calenture  CDs

I like arriving in the middle of the movie, and this is a classic case. The Triffids were a poofy, Big Star-ish pop band when I first heard them, and they were promptly discarded as one more INXS, Aussie nothing. Really, how do you top Nick Cave and the Saints for nationalism down there? I missed it in 1986, when the album was first released. And I am sure others did as well. There was, after all, a noise revolution afoot at the time, and even Touch and Go was putting out good stuff still. The Triffids weren't cutting it.

But these two reissues landed in the box recently, and I listened. On cold spring nights in March, In The Pines served as a wonderful tonic, its swampy misproduction and lyrical messes summoning the Cave Man with a twist of real vulnerability. “Kathy Knows” and the title cut stood up straight for their sheer lyrical starkness. The latter, with its dancehall jaunt, all mandolins and piano, is a masterpiece that personifies the band's mission for the record—a lo-fi gem aptly recorded in a shearing shed. Even toss-away Birthday Party rips like “Just Might Fade Away” is well placed and a reminder of the band's roots.

Calenture, released in 1987, is more in the line of folk rock and is best left in the archives or in its original form. Nothing there to really crow about—if you are not a fan, you won't be swayed.

These reissues are part of a complete revisit to The Triffids, and are beautifully packaged and archived. In the Pines is re-mastered from the original analogue 8-tracks and includes 5 bonus cuts, While Calenture includes an extra disc with rehearsal and studio demos.

Singer David McComb died in 1999 of his various habits, and these reissues include touching notes written by him at various points in his career, including notes from a band meeting in 1986. Someone cared dearly about this man, this band and this music and it is lovingly, touchingly restored here.

Yea, I did come to the party late, and not to jump in as a completist now would probably be self-defeating. So I slip In the Pines into the collection and realize that there are trains that go by routinely, missed by some, until it's too late. [Domino)]

-Miller

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