St. James Park
Boxodreams | district of columbia | 09/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Spirit of a Vampyre" is one of the most unjustly ignored songs in the Go-Betweens canon... It and the following "Clarke Sisters" are masterpieces by Robert Forster, but only the latter has gotten due recognition. "Vampyre," however, needs a boost in this ongoing swim in the dialogue about a band (See? I can refrain from gushing . . . for a second). The song opens with the absolutely classic line "I was slowly dying in a clinic just outside of L.A." over a jagged, nearly swaggering electric guitar riff. It is the comment of a cynic, a jaded hipster, a vampyre, full of exagerated self-importance. And the cracking open of this veneer begins in the very next line: "You came and saw me (thank you) that picked me up straight away." And, so we go on our way toward enlightenment, the richness of living, the end of late-night fears and ultimately, freedom. There is a glimpse of it in the first chorus ("That's when it starts") as the music shifts from the riff rock into an echoey, nearly psychedelic 60s chamber rock of resolving chords and background singers in breathy sighs, "Ahhhhh" (That's when it starts) and in the end, after the second verse, when all self has been given over to the open nature of love and possiblity ("I'm in deep, so blue with everything around you") the floodgates open, the resolving never ends, the sighing never ends, the chorus becomes open-ended to the fade and these final lyrics, full of acute perception, evocative, cryptic, nostalgic, sensuous and, ultimately, ecstatic:
That's when it starts. That's when it starts.
The electric train of soft cylinder parts
The dull mask of action on circus staff
Mobility the hood of the Hindu scarf
Together at last
Making jewellery at last.
St. James Park
For this alone, "Tallulah" is worth embracing.