THE GO-BETWEENS – “Going Blind”

The Go-Betweens set the gold standard for sensitivity coupled with intelligence coupled with fearsomely good tunes, and in doing so I’m sure ruined many a young life: out in the real world there’s only room for one Robert Forster. I once called them “the Smiths for grown-ups”, but I only started liking them when I was pissed, and I went through my worst break-up singing ‘The Wrong Road’ out-of-tune, so what was with that “grown-ups” shit I’ve no idea. And now they’re back.

“When She Sang About Angels” was the first song I heard from The Friends Of Rachel Worth, their guest-studded new album. It sounded pitiful, knackered singer-songwriter dandruff with a horrible title and worse lyrics. But I could cope with a singer-songwriter record: I’d just not play it, like I don’t much play about half their group albums and nearly all their solo stuff. Judging by “Going Blind”, though, that’s not quite what this new record’s about. Nowadays they sound like…well, they sound like a college indie band who want to be the Go-Betweens.

The fit gets better with each play, six or seven in and I can hardly see the join between ’89 and this. But there’s still something third-review-in-Pitchfork about the track. Maybe everyone sounds like this now, or maybe it’s just that I’ve taken too many punches from this sort of music to want to roll with any more. Surely there’s nothing in the lyrics to pull me in. And then Friday night I got drunk and put “Going Blind” on and it sounded terrific, so just maybe it is by the Go-Betweens after all.