The Triffids

Stockholm: Live

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After a decade spent slamming themselves against the ramparts of musical complacency and cliché on the Australian rock scene, the Triffids finally gave up the ghost in 1989. The next year, Island Records -- who were still owed one more Triffids album -- released this post-mortem live set, recorded shortly before the band's dissolution. Containing a mixture of early and latter-day material, Stockholm: Live functions as both primer and goodbye letter. The similarities between Triffids frontman David McComb and Nick Cave in sound, attitude, and mood are immediately apparent, but neither artist was an influence on the other; they were simply kindred spirits whose aesthetics developed at the same place and time. While Cave eventually found a worldwide audience, the Triffids never quite transcended cult status even in Australia. In fact, longtime Triffids bassist Martyn Casey had already become one of Cave's Bad Seeds by the time Stockholm was released. One thing this recording makes clear is what an intense, passionate, and powerful frontman McComb could be. He could come off as a sentimental romantic, soft-pedaling the love ballad "Sure the Girl I Love," he could whoop and sputter like an Aussie Iggy Pop atop the pounding intensity of "Property is Condemned," or he could take the role of expansive, storytelling troubadour on the slowly unfurling "Wide Open Road," all with equal aplomb. The rest of the Triffids match their fearless leader step for step, whether spitting out saber-toothed post-punk riffs, swimming around in the dark, swampy waters of one of the band's moodier pieces, or indulging in the Americana influences that became a significant part of the Triffids' musical personality as they evolved. McComb passed away a decade after the concert captured here, but as a final statement on his work with the Triffids, Stockholm stands up straight and tall.

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