Wide open road music

They say when you return to a place you once lived it always looks smaller. Sadder. Less impressive than you remembered.

I’ve just returned to an album I bonded with and listened to regularly. It was a permanent part of my car collection (on cassette!) when I was commuting to university and my first year in newspapers. I haven’t listened to it, in its entirety, for more than 15 years.

Born Sandy Devotional from The Triffids features some totally trippy and menacing tracks of heartache, hurt and loneliness. There’s also one of my all-time favourite songs, Wide Open Road.

It sounds bigger and better than ever to me today. With my teen years ever distant, the lyrics have gained new meaning – essentially a short story in each track. It’s not the sort of album I’d listen to daily (too melancholy!) but man, I’m glad it’s been re-released.

As a kid from the bush it always felt like an album spiced with the dust of remote rural Australia and steeped in an appreciation of the vast distances people travel seeking somewhere to belong, live and love. Fifteen years down the track, it feels like the soundtrack to a Tim Winton novel – quintessentially West Australian.

If you’re heading out on a long rural road trip, give it a spin. I reckon it will give you chills.

Here’s my favourite track, sometimes hailed as one of the best Australian songs ever. You’ve gotta love the Interweb. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this clip before…

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