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Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express – The Go-Betweens

Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express The Go-Betweens

Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express

(1986), 8.5/10
Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express has the same lineup as Spring Hill Fair and it’s a more mature and more disciplined followup. Robert Forster has gone on record to say that his favourite Go-Betweens albums from the 1980s were the even numbered ones, so fourth album Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express is one of the good ones by his reckoning. Forster dominates this record with the singles ‘Head Full Of Steam’ (apparently an attempt to emulate Prince!) and ‘Spring Rain’, both melodic and driving. ‘To Reach Me’ throws in a great lead break, before its memorable “Ruth said/Ruth said/She said/That you once disapproved/How could anyone disapprove of me?” middle eight, while ‘Twin Layers Of Lightning’ emulates Morrissey.

Grant McLennan writes another evocative childhood song, ‘The Ghost And The Black Hat’, while a string section underpins his gorgeous epic ‘The Wrong Road’ (“When the rain hit the roof/With the sound of a finished kiss/Like a lip lifted up from a lip”). Some of McLennan’s second half compositions aren’t as convincing – ‘In The Core Of A Flame’ has a surprisingly banal “that’s the right word/Cos I love you” chorus – and ‘Apology Accepted’ overstays its welcome despite its heartfelt lyric.

Liberty Belle is another excellent entry into the catalogue of an excellent, literate, and over-looked band.

The music video for ‘Head Full Of Steam’ features Forster in a black crop top and tight red pants – enjoy….

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