Picked up on a whim in a Subiaco market CD shop in the early 90s, after hearing only one They Might Be Giants song, this is the album that spawned a nearly-thirty year love affair. I’d never heard anything so quirky, so individual, and so delightfully obtuse before. Here was a large slice of my humour, and my thought processes, set to music. After my first wife died, I went on a comfort spending spree: along with enough KFC to seriously damage my health, and an obsession for Terry Pratchett books that lasted the better part of three years and led to a fast, sharp, deepening of my nascent relationship with Luscious (a story for another time), I took my credit card and internet connection to the music store, filling out my collection from their first album right through to Mink Car in a matter of months.
I’ve seen the ban live twice: once, a couple of years ago, the ticket a birthday present from an indulgent Luscious, and once on the night of my daughter’s birth– tickets purchased before we discovered my first wife was pregnant, concert disregarded once the date of birth was known to be the same day, then finally attended when my exhausted wife insisted I get out of the hospital room so she could get a night’s sleep so I may as well go to that concert I was talking about, anyway. Brilliant, joyous occasions, both, and nights I will remember always.
But Flood is the album I come back to most often. It’s a perfect balance of the band’s maze-like lyricism and unique musical arrangements, and it reminds me of a time when I was just beginning to discover the alternative music scene, when it was actually distinguishable from mainstream radio and didn’t come with its own Instagram publicist. I was just beginning to outgrow my Rockingham roots in a way that would finally break me from my past completely, and Flood was a major milestone in exploring musical styles and history by following my own nose, not the paths set out for me by parental influence and FM radio. It remains a very personal joy.