Musically, G Stands for Go-Betweens paints a picture of a group that suffered few growing pains: if debut seven-inch "Lee Remick" b/w "People Say" (which famously led to an invitation from Orange Juice's Edwyn Collins and Alan Horne to spend several months in Scotland) lacks the elegance and airy majesty of later singles, Forster and McLennan's biting lyrical touch and knack for killer pop hooks are already on full display. By the 1983 release of sophomore LP Before Hollywood, which shed much of Send Me A Lullaby's jagged edges and claustrophobia, the Go-Betweens had entered their classic period and the quality of their output would rarely sag: "Hammer the Hammer," "Cattle and Cane," "Five Words," "Part Company" and "Bachelor Kisses" (the latter three from 1984's Spring Hill Fair) all probably topped the charts in an alternate universe, and unreleased leftovers like "Emperor's Courtesan" or "Attraction" are nearly their equals.
While the Go-Betweens may not be as well known to music fans as the Cure, R.E.M. or the Smiths, this lovingly curated box makes a convincing case that they are more than deserving of being on any list of the greatest rock bands of the 1980s or any other decade. Baby photos seldom looked this good — and Volume 2 cannot come soon enough. (Domino)