‘Great Australian Albums (Series 2)’

December 8, 2008 § 1 Comment

Published: The Big Issue, #316, November 2008.

Great Australian Albums 2
****

If the SBS Television-commissioned Great Australian Albums documentary series captured anything, it was artistic process. Across four episodes, the series traced the stories behind songs that comprised The Saints’ (I’m) Stranded, Crowded House’s Woodface, Silverchair’s Diorama and The Triffids’ Born Sandy Devotional, providing the kind of creative insight that few are lucky enough to have.

The second series follows the same template, this time pulling focus on Nick Cave & Bad Seed’s 1996 opus Murder Ballads, The Go Betweens’ 16 Lovers Lane, The Hunters & Collectors’ Human Frailty and Powderfinger’s Odyssey # 5. While the format is predictable enough – a smattering of talking heads, live footage and music videos – it’s writer Toby Creswell and director Larry Meltzer’s ability to expound and illuminate the depths and personal complexities of their subjects that really brings this collection out of its shell.

The painstakingly researched episodes on 16 Lovers Lane and Murder Ballads are by far the pick. Cave and his band of not-so-merry men prove charming and intriguing subjects, made all the more fascinating by the cache of electrifying and beautifully photographed live footage. It’s a inspired take on an often-tired genre.

Dan Rule

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