For a band that is sufficiently popular in their native country to have their faces in the Australian National Portrait Gallery they have received precious little acknowledgement elsewhere in the world. Largely this can be blamed on the band dissolving in 1990 in the face of more than a decade's worth of apathy from mainstream record buyers. The core of the band, Robert Forster and Grant McLennan, decided to work on solo projects just as REM were about to achieve global dominance with Go-Betweens style virtuoso guitar pop. Both bands also shared a fixation with movies and the US punk scene, particularly The Velvet Underground. Like their American counterparts, punk influenced The Go-Betweens attitude and refusal to make artistic compromises much more than the style of their music.
Despite missing their chance to grab hold of REM's commercial coat-tails Forster and McLennan played a handful of acoustic shows together in the late 90's before completing a successful world tour in 1999. The reunion was cemented the following year with the release of 'The Friends Of Rachel Worth', an album that continued the critical acclaim of their earlier releases.
The follow-up album, 'Bright Yellow Bright Orange', containing familiar timeless melodic guitar pop, will undoubtedly earn the Go-Betweens more glowing praise and commercial indifference.
The carefree mellow instrumentation contrasts with the wry and careworn lyricism that has become a band trademark. A good example is the jauntily fanciful Dylanesque 'Too Much Of One Thing', which is lyrically grounded by the faint air of fatigue "When I rise in the morning / It's as if I've walked a hundred miles." Other highlights include album opener 'Caroline and I' with its glorious Big Star power pop and 'Mrs Morgan' which sounds like the sort of song Lou Reed was writing at the start of his solo career.
The band are touring the U.K. at the end of April with support from Goldrush, who alongside Travis, The Cosmic Rough Riders and many others are testament to the enduring influence of the Go-Betweens. It is perhaps unlikely to happen but 'Bright Yellow Bright Orange' deserves to get the Go-Betweens a share of the commercial spoils enjoyed by their many imitators.