AUK’s Chain Gang: The Triffids “Wide Open Road”

Last week, Lyndon Bolton wrote about Billy Bragg & Joe Henry’s ‘In The Pines’. This immediately brought to mind the memories of another song and album of the same name by Australian greats, The Triffids. Now, many would not immediately associate The Triffids and their mastermind, the late great David McComb with Americana. Yet, the overview of their complete output would make it hard to associate them with any specific genre as such.

Still, throughout their existence, The Triffids had this sometimes thin, at other times quite thick line of Americana sounds and references going through their music, particularly evident on ‘Born Sandy Devotional’, one of the masterpieces of the eighties music. One of the key tracks on the album is ‘Wide Open Road’ a track that both musically and lyrically can be classified as archetypal Americana or ‘Australiana’ if you will.

Open spaces, long (and winding) open roads are a frequent theme of much Americana music. It was probably easy for McComb to naturally plug into this, as Western Australia was where he and the rest of the band originated from. Yet, it requires a musical master to come up with a song like ‘Wide Open Road’ and music in general as exhibited on ‘Born Sandy Devotional’ that is actually Americana but did not originate on the American continent.

While the lyrics permeate dark overtones, as was usually the case with McComb’s, the final effect is exhilarating, as is usually the case with the music created by someone so gifted.

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thanks Ljubinko for a great article! I was a huge fan of The Triffids and could never understand why they weren’t bigger. I have just played “A Trick of the Light” to remind myself what an incredibly perfect song it is, and will now move on to Wide Open Road. RIP David McComb 🙁