The Go-Betweens: Return To Streets Of Your Town

As Brisbane indie heroes’ farewell masterpiece, 16 Lovers Lane, enjoys a silver jubilee.

The Go-Betweens: Return To Streets Of Your Town

IT'S BEEN 25 YEARS since the Brisbane cult heroes’ farewell masterpiece, 16 Lovers Lane. So enjoy again the promo video for their biggest almost-hit, Streets Of Your Town, which reached Number 82 (!) in the UK singles chart in 1988. Perhaps the only Australian band to boast both the Velvet Underground and Samuel Beckett as touchstones, the songwriting team of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan were one of modern music’s great artistic pairings, their literate pop reaching critical minor key mass on 16 Lovers Lane, an album aglow with the redemptive possibilities of love.

The Grant-sung Streets Of Your Town was inspired by his relationship with Go-Betweens’ violinist Amanda Brown (who also sings backing vocals on the song) and stands as the brightest, most memorable tune on an album chock-full of them. Lyrically, though, it’s laced with lovesick poison: “And don’t the sun look good today / But the rain is on its way / Watch the butcher shine his knives / And this town is full of battered wives,” sings Grant, his Queensland accent chewing each vowel delectably.

Beggars Banquet released Streets Of Your Town as a single twice, once in October 1988 and again the following summer, though to no warmer reception. As a result there are two promos, a 1989 one filmed by Paul Goldman in moodier sepia tones that looks a bit overly-coiffured from this distance, and this one, directed by Australian director Kriv Stenders and featuring sun-bright images of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, plus shots of Robert Forster in a tartan cape carrying a volume by De Sade. But not, sadly, Brisbane’s Hale Street Link bridge, that would later be renamed Go Between Bridge in tribute to the band and especially the late Grant McLennan.