In the Pines
Australian ’80s alternative trio The Triffids is yet another obscure college radio band to benefit from the re-issue treatment. Outside of the most studious listeners of imported jangle rock from that era, there’s a good chance that the current American audience will question the importance of revisiting this material. Truth be told, In the Pines, with its dizzying array of sounds and genres, largely comes across as vital as anything Oz is putting out today, from the subtle appropriation of the traditional song made famous by Leadbelly on the title track, and the not-so-subtle “Sweet Jane” riff cop of “Love and Affection;” the outlaw country of “Just Might Fade Away” segueing into the ’50s lounge ballad “Better Off This Way,” the wiry and raw rock of “Keep Your Eyes on the Hole” and the glorious Felt-isms of “One Soul Less On Your Fiery List.” It’s easily as willfully eccentric as anything put out by today’s folk collectives. Interestingly enough, these guys managed to cobble together most of this sound from the sheep shearing shed they commandeered to record this album, giving it a honest lo-fi feel noticeably absent from today’s crop. The disc’s only problematic moments come when it’s at its most thoroughly college rock, when the dated songwriting can, at best, inspire a simple shrug and shake of the head. They might not have broken any new ground on here, but it’s still a boon for The Triffids to make their way to U.S. soil, even roughly 20 years behind schedule.
Domino Recording Co.: www.dominorecordingco.us