Vagabond Holes: David McComb & The Triffids
Despite having left a legacy of fantastic music and an album that should not be missing from the record collection of anyone remotely into independent music (my entry point recommendation would be the classic “Born Sandy Devotional” album), the reverberations of which can still be felt on terra australis, the Western Australian post-punk band The Triffids are not exactly a household name.
However, aficionados can be found around the world, especially amongst acclaimed musicians of which quite a few contributed to this tribute in literary form, many of which are esteemed luminaries from the realm of Australian independent music and if you are not familiar with some of the names, this book can serve as the ideal trigger for a journey down the rabbit hole of Australian musical greatness. Needless to say that big ticket names such as Steve Kilbey and Nick Cave are there as well to contribute to-the-point elaborations on their appreciation for The Triffids.
Eye candy is delivered courtesy of Sean Dower along with photographic depictions and poetic writings and fiction, which round out this book and tackles the sujet nicely from different and up until now unexplored angles.
The book is not a chronologically narrated biography but essentially a printed shrine for Triffids fans and the uninitiated those who would like to be inducted through an elegant compendium to a band that captured the context and DNA of their time of existence in Australia like no other.
With the loving and gritty recollections of fellow artists on one hand and borderline academical essays on the, Vagabond Holes manages not only to catapult you back to the times of a band that was led by their enigmatic front man David McComb and his undeniable talent but also portrays his uncompromising commitment to his art.
Having left an evocative catalogue of music after his untimely departure in 1999, part of David McComb’s artistic appeal was his lyricism and poetry that dealt with addiction as well as the mundane and metaphysical in equal measure.
Beautiful Waste is a collection of his literary emissions during his most productive era, i.e. his Twenties and Thirties, when The Triffids were at the height of their career and in essence, a complementing volume to Vagabond Holes.
Given that it is the first time that McComb’s poetry is published, ordering it alongside Vagabond Holes should be mandatory as it lends both depth and perspective to what drove and concerned the creative force behind The Triffids.