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4.0 out of 5 stars former go-betweens man shines, 20 Feb. 2004
This review is from: Watershed (Audio CD)
Grant McLennan's first outing following the split of the critically-feted Go-betweens finds him on corruscating form. The trademark lush melodies and plangent guitars are there, coupled with his bitter-sweet lyrics. In many ways this is a return - thematically - to his native Australia and picks up where Cattle and Cane left off. McLennan conjures up the sort of dusty towns where the railroad ends and heartache begins, where 'nothing much happens here anymore.'
McLennan sings of longing unanswered, but anchors it in a very real landscape (sic: 'you can shut your eyes and pray for rain, hope it puts the fire out'), and his talent, as it was when displayed with Robert Forster in the Go-betweens, is to set jarring emotional crises against melodies that pass by like streams flowing in spring. Undoubtedly his best solo effort, his later offspring only confirmed that the decision to reunite with Forster was a shrewd one. This was similarly the case for Forster. They're brilliant together, but also capable of producing solo work that will stand against anything they did together. Watershed is the sound of a man released and in creative full flow. It is not to be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GW McLennans magnificent debut solo album, 14 Aug. 2006
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Watershed (Audio CD)
The recent sad, way too early, death of Grant McLennan led me to revisit a lot of the Go Betweens back catalogue and what a treat that was. But I also returned again to the solo album he made after the Go Betweens split up in the early nineties and though I was always aware that it was a fine album I am surprised to find that on re-investigation that "16 Lovers Lane" and "Liberty Belle And The Black Diamond Express" apart it's the finest album McLennan had a hand in. Why it,s not widely available ......well it leaves me speechless.

Released in 1991"Watershed" wasn't the first post GB moment for McLennan -that being the patchy "Jack Frost" project with Steve Kilbey- and neither was it the first ex GB release as Robert Forster had released his own excellent solo album "Strangers In The Past" the year before. But it was effortlessly the best. While Fosters music is all austere precise moods and angular observations McLennan instinctively knew how to make terrific pop music. This is, without exception, a resoundingly great pop album. 12 songs that occupy a world of romantic bruising and stoic yearning within a sweltering temperate landscape with nothing much more than an acoustic guitar and some rollicking tunes. So from opening track "When Word Gets Around" via the sweet and languorous "Stones For You" or the more vigorous and rockier "Putting The Wheels Back On" this is an album to be enjoyed, and enjoyed so much you may feel a little guilty.

You shouldn't though , that what it's there for and I defy anyone with functioning ears and a modicum of taste on hearing the glorious "Haven't I Been A Fool" not be singing ( or whistling ) within a minute of the song starting. Similarly the countryish strains Of "Just Get That Straight" with the classic line "I Know you've been seeing your boyfriend the actor/ sometimes I want to run him over with a tractor". For those who crave a little delicacy there is the lovely "Black Mule". "Dream About tomorrow" is so achingly wistful it makes me homesick for a place I ,ve never been.

As usual McLennan sings as if it's the most natural thing in the world, which to him it probably was. He hasn't that great a voice but he really knew how to operate within its limits. A fantastic performer, a superb songwriter, just a magnificent unassuming talent. A great loss to music and like that other Australian David McComb he has left us way too soon. They both stood squinting into the sun, singing their huge hearts out. You may have been a fool (sometimes) GW McLennan, but I for one will miss you. RIP.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Australia's premier songwriter!, 28 Sept. 2005
Mr. C. J. Waldron "mhsob" (UK & Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Watershed (Audio CD)
Grant McLennans songwriting is an absolute joy to behold. He's the prequel to David Gray who owes him so much. After the much admired Go Betweens packed it in first time around after releasing the beautiful "16 Lovers Lane", it was a revelation to hear this cd which carried on the unique heights that cd had reached. "Stones for You" is simply one of the best love songs ever written, "Haven't I been a Fool", and the opener "When word gets around" are are framed in the timeless Australian towns that have a story to tell wherever you look. Real stories, real characters, real love. The music is rich and it seems McLennan has an ability to turn a tune like very few. The closer "Dream About Tomorrow" just takes me back to sitting on a verandah with my feet up at sunset with a cold beer in my hand out in the country....ah, makes me homesick. I still havent met anyone that hasn't become hooked on McLennan once they've heard his timeless music.
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Watershed by Grant McLennan (Audio CD - 2001)
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