One for Friday: The Go-Betweens, “Surfing Magazines”

I have my prejudices when it comes to music. For one thing, I’ve long resisted any reunions of bands, even those who I once loved. I still stand by my aversion in many cases, especially in those instances when the reunion is basically in name only. I’m not quite sure why anyone musters up overt excitement about what is essentially a new Frank Black solo album just because he’s worked it out to stamp the name “Pixies” on the front. There are plenty of instances where bands have gotten back together for drab efforts after solo projects and spinoff bands after a break-up were met with dwindling interest. There are also plentiful examples — more than I’m typically willing to acknowledge — of groups that threatened to give reunion albums a good name. One of the first such albums that made me think about reappraising my stance was The Friends of Rachel Worth.

Released twelve years after their prior effort, long believed to be their final album, The Friends of Rachel Worth is unmistakably the product of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, but it doesn’t comes across as a retread. Nor does it represent the band picking up precisely where they left off. Marvelously, it sounds like the creation of a group that had been toiling and evolving together all that time, bearing the marks of both progress and continued cohesion. On the evidence found on the disc, they were a group that plainly belonged together.

Any number of tracks represent the album well. I picked “Surfing Magazines” to share below, though on any given day I may gravitate to a different song. Anything on the album refutes my knee-jerk instinct against it. There are times when I’m thrilled to be wrong.

Listen or download –> The Go-Betweens, “Surfing Magazines”

(Disclaimer: It appears to me that The Friends of Rachel Worth is out of print, at least as a physical item that can be purchased from the proprietor of your favorite local, independently-owned record store. Though I share it here with the belief that doing so doesn’t harm any fair commerce. Even so, I will gladly remove it if asked to do so by anyone with due authority to make such a request.)

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