Formed in Perth in the late seventies by David McComb and Alsy MacDonald, The Triffids were one of Australia’s most successful musical exports of the eighties. Over five heady years, they signed to Island Records, played above Midnight Oil on Belgian festival bills, appeared twice on the cover of the NME, and played sellout shows across Europe. Lead singer and songwriter, David McComb, who died in 1999, is recognised as one of Australia’s finest songwriters.
Though the British press embraced the band as one more installment in the ‘Australian invasion’, they had an extra element to them; they were a Perth band who McComb claimed ‘actually feel quite a strong affinity with the city itself. We haven’t turned our back on it.’ The cover of Born Sandy Devotional was anything but inner-city Sydney, where they’d been living for years; it was extraordinary for a mid-80s rock LP, an early 60s aerial shot of a West Australian coastline. It was a strong statement for the group’s first English LP, and those in the northern hemisphere were even more responsive to this localism (as opposed to nationalism): one NME writer felt that ‘the air around them seems different’.