Skip to content

Spring Hill Fair – The Go-Betweens

Spring Hill Fair The Go-Betweens

Spring Hill Fair

(1984), 7.5/10
The Go-Betweens became a four piece, adding bassist Robert Vickers to the band. With McLennan moving to guitar, the band sound much fuller than before, and Forster’s material is more conventional, forgoing jerky new wave in favour of more conventional pop, although his material is still more fractured than McLennan’s. So conceivably, Spring Hill Fair could have been the album where the Go-Betweens crossed over to the mainstream, spear-headed by the transcendent opener ‘Bachelor Kisses’ (“Don’t believe what you heard/Faithful’s not a bad word”). They didn’t, and never progressed much further than an enthusiastic cult following, but from this point on it gets difficult to see why, beyond Forster and McLennan’s plain singing voices. Spring Hill Fair was recorded in jazz keyboardist Jacques Loussier’s Cannes studio; Loussier contributes Prophet synth to Forster’s ‘Part Company’. The widened sound palette allows the group to try more things, and for both better and worse Spring Hill Fair is far more diverse than the low key Before Hollywood. Most notably, ‘River Of Money’ features a spoken McLennan vocal over a backdrop of a repetitive bassline and loud guitars, and it’s one of the weaker pieces on the disc. But elsewhere, McLennan’s ultra-melodic and accessible; as well as the acknowledged genius of ‘Bachelor Kisses’, the more overlooked ‘Unkind and Unwise’ is almost hymn-like childhood reminiscence, a sequel to ‘Cattle and Cane’. But McLennan is eclipsed by Forster here: a fuller four piece version of ‘Man O’ Sand To Girl O’ Sea’ lacks the raw energy of the original, but it’s still worth a revisit, while ‘Draining The Pool For You’ tells the tale of a disgruntled employee of a celebrity, and ‘Part Company’ is an ambiguous kiss off, set off by Loussier’s keyboard. I’d rank Spring Hill Fair behind the more coherent albums that bookend it, but it’s still a fine effort.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Stereo Crush

Popular Music Uncommon-tary

Turntable talk

Musings on the world of alternative and independent rock music.

My life in music lists

These are the songs that have and will continue to soundtrack my life.

jhubner73

Midwestern groaning since 2011

Steve For The Deaf

Certain Songs Get Scratched Right In

It Rains... You Get Wet

Still more lazy thoughts from this one...

zumpoems

Zumwalt Poems Online

Lord Eels Music

S'baht music

timeweleftthisworldtoday

This world's so mixed up everywhere you go

%d bloggers like this: