The Go-Betweens

There may be bands that are more technically astute, but few can boast the melodic wherewithal of the Go-Betweens. Four albums and six years into its second incarnation, the group — specifically coconspirators/chief composers Robert Forster and Grant McLennan — is still at the peak of its prime, writing and executing irresistible material with a charm and finesse that other outfits can only envy and admire. If further proof is needed (as if the band's earlier compilation, Bellavista Terrace, isn't already enough to sway the uninitiated), a look and listen to That Striped Sunlight Sound should suffice. This double-disc set — one a DVD containing a live concert in the band's hometown of Brisbane, Australia, along with a chronological narrative and intimate acoustic reading of selected songs by Forster and McLennan; the other an audio recording of the Brisbane concert — offers an outstanding sampling of the group's supple prowess. It also gives fans and analysts an opportunity to examine the bandmates' musical evolution, from the angular turns and wry twists that characterized early outings like "Lee Remick," "Bachelor Kisses," and "Cattle and Cane" to the brilliant, sprightly, effusive pop that marks their latest, lavishly praised studio opus, Oceans Apart. In their commentary, the two principals hone in on their influences, citing Talking Heads, Jonathan Richman, and the Monkees as early inspiration for what they dubbed their "striped sunlight sound." Yet descriptions are one thing; as documented here, that sound has never sounded quite as bright.