The Go-Betweens

Oceans Apart

For those late arriving to the Go-Betweens’ party, know that the band’s engine — the songwriting duo of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan — delivered a half-dozen near-perfect pop records in VH1’s favorite decade. And in that same ’80s spirit of If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all, they were plagued by their fair share of record label mishaps and radio near-misses, enough so that the guys took a twelve-year hiatus before reemerging with The Friends of Rachel Worth in 2000. Oceans Apart, the Go-Betweens’ third disc in Volume Two of their career, is quickly identifiable — a familiar mélange of British Empire vocals over dreamily wistful, mid-tempo, open-chord guitars, with occasional left turns onto Neo-Psychedelic Street, in the same zip code as fellow ’80s revelers the Church, Robyn Hitchcock, and Dream Syndicate. Throw in literate (they namecheck Dostoyevsky, for chrissakes) yet opaque lyrics, and you have an “I Love 1985” Match Game winner.

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