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Born Sandy Devotional (Re-Issue)

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Album Review

With Born Sandy Devotional, the Triffids fully realized the potential shown on their earlier releases, Treeless Plain and Raining Pleasure. By 1985 the band was based in London, but despite the fact that this album was recorded 9,000 miles from home, its roots lie deep in the Triffids' native western Australia. While the spectacular cover photograph featuring the township of Mandurah provides a sense of place, David McComb's songwriting evokes his home environment all the more vividly. Indeed, this is the most accomplished work from McComb's tragically short career, encapsulating his talent for creating a lyrical and musical resonance between the stark, isolated geography of western Australia and universally recognizable, desolate interior landscapes. Born Sandy Devotional certainly is dark, its lyrics replete with death, psychological turmoil, and despair, but it's never maudlin or banal. McComb's commanding delivery combines with expansive, string-adorned arrangements to elevate many of these songs to the level of high emotional drama; haunting keyboards, vibes, and "Evil" Graham Lee's pedal steel add atmospheric detail. The elusive quality of McComb's writing makes his stories all the more compelling and memorable as he offers listeners fragmented, unresolved scenes instead of comfortable, complete narratives. Such elements coalesce sublimely on "Stolen Property" and "The Seabirds," songs of loss and suicide, respectively, but the anthemic "Wide Open Road" and the intense, claustrophobic "Lonely Stretch" are the standouts. Another tale of life gone wrong, "Tarrilup Bridge" sets organist Jill Birt's childlike vocals amid an eerie ambience of vibes and strings. Nevertheless, the album closes on a cautiously optimistic note with Birt's duet with McComb, "Tender Is the Night." Born Sandy Devotional was a landmark release for the Triffids. More than that, it stands as a testament to McComb's status as one of Australia's most gifted (and overlooked) rock songwriters.

Customer Reviews

Pseud's Corner.......

.....which is where I will belong once I have finished eulogising about "Born Sandy Devotional". You can, indeed, judge this album by it's cover. Beautiful, bright, huge, tantalisingly close but too far away to touch... See, I told you this album turns me into a pseud. I first heard "Stolen Property" listening to John Peel in 1986. Myself and 2 friends were working as volunteer wardens on a remote bird reserve (in a caravan without electricity) and the huge lonely sound of Stolen Property crackled from the failing batteries. Perfect synergy between time and place..... Pretentious? Moi?? I love love love this album. Did I mention that I love it?

Perhaps One of the Best

Every time I listen to this album I am blown away, not only because Dave McComb's lyrics are probably some of the most profound I have ever heard, but mainly because the Triffids never bettered their craft, astonishing though it had always been, after this recording. Lonely Stretch manages to be menacing & vulnerable simultaneously, Wide Open Road encapsulates landscape & the human condition, Life of Crime/ Personal Things/Stolen Property just work together beautifully, a broken howl at how destructive relationships can be & yet how necessary they are. This is a wonderful record that has not dated one iota...


Wholly original and beautifully dark. A true work of art that should be in everyone's record collection. Might take a few listens, but by god, it's worth it. You MUST own it!


Formed: 1981 in Perth, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s

Australian folk-pop band the Triffids was formed in Perth in 1980 by singer/songwriter David McComb, his guitarist/violinist brother Robert, and drummer Alsy MacDonald. Although chiefly influenced by the Velvet Underground, McComb's songs also drew heavily on the stark desolation of his rural upbringing, incorporating elements of country and blues to paint haunting portraits of isolation and longing. Various members passed through the lineup during the Triffids' early years, although the core trio...
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Born Sandy Devotional (Re-Issue), The Triffids
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