In an ideal world, Robert Forster’s band, The Go-Betweens would have sold millions of records in the eighties, such was their ability to write a nice tune. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen and The Go-Betweens music was left to be appreciated by those in the know. Robert Forster is now a writer of exquisite songs and books and father of one third of The Goon Sax. His new album, Inferno, was produced by Victor Van Vugt and it’s the first time the pair have worked together since Forster’s solo debut back in 1990. LP and CD on Tapete.
Vinyl LP £17.75 TR429LP
LP on Tapete.
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CD £11.99 TR429
CD on Tapete.
Look, I can't get on with Robert Forster's solo work as much as I did with the Go Betweens - I'm sure that affects many people. His previous album Songs to Play came home with me and then has sat on the shelf unplayed ever since. I've played this latest record twice in the office and both times felt a bit underwhelmed. That said, it's sounding better on headphones where you can wrap yourself in the slow moving carefully thought out songs.
Opener 'Crazy Jane On The Day Of Judgement' is a lovely slow burner that doesn't really do anything but plod between two chords but does so in a really exquisite manner that suggests a songwriter doing what he does best without particularly stretching himself. Forster himself admits he has no vocal range but on No Fame and the title track he stretches his voice a bit to good effect. The former is a nice slice of summery pop that would have fit perfectly on the Go-Betweens swan song Oceans Apart, the latter a sort of gritty 70s boogie. There are lovely moments such as 'Life Has Turned a Page' which again you can easily see fitting into a later Go Betweens album. 'I'll Look After You' too is just exquisite - the best song on this album by a country mile. Forster's lyrics these days just often sit on the edge of clunky - there's little of his former flourishing poetic couplets and instead a sort of 'will this do' narrative - but here he really touches the listeners soul in a way he hasn't done since 16 Lovers Lane.
There are probably too many Creedence/Dylan influenced mid paced tracks here to mark it out as a late career masterpiece but there are some exquisite songs that you'll want to cherish forever.
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