The Triffids

Calenture

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AllMusic Review by

The Triffids were never labeled as a Christian band, but there's an undeniably spiritual feel to several of the songs on Calenture. Moreover, vocalist David McComb spews his words with the fiery passion of a backwoods preacher. The orchestral sweep of "Bury Me Deep in Love" recalls the Waterboys' expansive sound; the lyrics are unmistakably religious as McComb looks for salvation in a chapel. Fans of Nick Cave will immediately be seduced by McComb's bluesy croon; deep and brimming with palpable sorrow, McComb's voice never dwindles in intensity. "A Trick of the Light" opens like a lullaby with its twinkling synths; the pitter-patter of the drums augments the track's dreamlike ambience. The lyrics, however, read like the tortured confessions of a man obsessed with an ex-lover: "You remind very much/Of someone that I used to know/We used to take turns crying all night." The striking images in Calenture illustrate the predicaments of each song's characters. The hallucinations suffered by the woman in "Kelly's Blues" are vividly drawn: "Her tree blew over/I shook her branches down/The wind and I, we howled around her door/Now there's a buckle in the sky, lightning on the shore." The grim "Vagabond Holes" details the anger of romantic rejection with unflinching bitterness. Stoked by sinister guitars and pummeling drums, McComb unleashes a volley of vindictive thoughts: "No one's going to love you when you're wrinkled and old/No teeth in your gum, your hair the colour of snow." The Triffids released one more LP, The Black Swan, before the band split up and McComb sadly passed away. McComb's explosive rage at the finale of "Vagabond Holes" should have been the Triffids' last gasp, an unsettling blast of scarred emotions that isn't easy to shake off.

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