The Go-Betweens rank among my all-time favorite bands. Lots of songwriters cite Dylan's influence, but few wrote songs worthy of that influence. The Go-Betweens were a band that did Dylan proud. Built on the partnership between Aussie songwriters Robert Forster (the arty one) and Grant McLennan (the poppy one), the Go-Betweens crafted songs as if they were artisan glassblowers, shaping raw emotion into impossibly light and beautiful artworks: unfailingly smart, often enigmatic and yet equally translucent, melodic, dissonant, dynamic, passionate. The band recorded a number of albums together in the 80s and then broke up when they failed to find any success. But then the two songwriters got back together in the 00s and put out three more studio albums that were the equal of their earlier work. That puts them into pretty rarified company. Mission of Burma, yes. But who else?
'78 to '79: The Lost Album (released 1999) and Fast Forward Tapezine (1981). Call this the prehistory. The first album includes the first G-Bs singles and some bedroom demos. "Lee Remick" is about the actress ("she's a darlin'," according to the lyrics) and "Karen" is an ode to a librarian who Robert Forster thinks sexy not because of her looks but because she loads him up with great literature. There's a couple of other decent songs on this, but it's impossible to think of this as a great album. They're still learning, even if you can see glimpses of the songwriters they will become. The Tapezine is a rarity with three songs (including "Karen"). The song "One Word" appears again on the Postcard Demos and as an extra on the expanded version of Send Me A Lullaby.