This is a reminder of how good, and unconventional, the Go-Betweens were as songwriters (it would be good if fans of these younger artists went on to discover the originals). Plus, there are good versions here: Patience Hodgson from the Grates has the teenage energy Robert Forster originally displayed on Lee Remick; Youth Group capture the right tone of weariness of Grant McLennan’s Dusty In Here; and Glenn Richards of Augie March gets the edge of anxiety Forster gave to the fabulous House That Jack Kerouac Built.
I felt that the album highlights the legacy left by the band. Some cover albums can highlight how dated the music has become. However, although this albums plays it somewhat safe, it feels like their music could have been released now. Here I am reminded of Walter Benjamin’s discussion of the task of the translator.
The task of the translator consists in finding that intended effect [ Intention ] upon the language into which he is translating which produces in it the echo of the original. This is a feature of translation which basically differentiates it from the poet’s work, because the effort of the latter is never directed at the language as such, at its totality, but solely and immediately at specific linguistic contextual aspects. Unlike a work of literature, translation does not find itself in the center of the language forest but on the outside facing the wooded ridge; it calls into it without entering, aiming at that single spot where the echo is able to give, in its own language, the reverberation of the work in the alien one. Not only does the aim of translation differ from that of a literary work-it intends language as a whole, taking an individual work in an alien language as a point of departure but it is a different effort altogether. The intention of the poet is spontaneous, primary, graphic; that of the translator is derivative,  ultimate, ideational. For the great motif of integrating many tongues into one true language is at work. This language is one in which the independent sentences, works of literature, critical judgments, will never communicate – for they remain dependent on translation; but in it the languages themselves, supplemented and reconciled in their mode of signification, harmonize.
With this in mind, I wonder what a tribute album might sound like today? Other than Jen Cloher and Laura Jean, I wonder what other artists might be a part of the bill?