A perfect swan-song for the Go-Betweens 80s-era
Lypo Suck | Hades, United States | 08/28/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Following the mixed bag of "Tallulah," "16 Lovers Lane" offers a more cohesive collection of the Go-Betweens' unique, ultra-melodic brand of pop. This is their most polished album to date, though the studio-sterile sheen does not detract from the depth we've come to expect from the Go-Betweens. In fact, the mellifluous, airy feel of the album suits the songs well; crystal-clear (often acoustic) guitars weave intricate, lovely textures which, when combined with Amanda Brown's oboe and violin, form a mesmerizing sonic tapestry.
All this shimmer and atmosphere might just meander aimlessly were it not for sharp, solid songwriting, and the conviction that emotive singer/songwriters Forster and McLennan bring to their insightful, adult tales of love and loss. "Streets of Your Town" is one of the most beautiful, infectious tunes they've ever done, while its line "watch the butcher shine his knives/and this town is full of battered wives" makes for some brilliant, stinging irony. Likewise, Forster's hook-filled, moving, Smiths-esque "You Can't Say No Forever" features another thorn beneath the rose with "Yes my world's tumbling down/stone by stone to the ground/please take out the garbage". Brilliant.
What also makes this album different from its predecessors is the ease with which it all seems to come together. On the surface, the songs all seem simple and effortless, but repeated listens expose the complexity and sophistication lurking not far beneath the soothing sounds. That they can take simple elements like acoustic guitars and major chords and weave them into something so rich, demonstrates the brilliance and resourcefulness of this criminally under-appreciated band. This may not be their best album ("Liberty Belle" holds that title, in my humble opinion), but it's nonetheless a fine example of their now legendary, timeless approach to pop."