Robert Forster “The Candle And The Flame”

Tapete Records, 2023

Solo album number 8 for respected Brisbane singer-songwriter.

Acclaimed Australian singer-songwriter Robert Forster has been around a while. He was the co-founder of The Go-Betweens and made nine albums in that guise from the 1980s on, and while the Go-Betweens may be no more, the release of ‘The Candle And The Flame’ will be solo album number eight.

The album was born in a time of personal trauma, coinciding as it did with a cancer diagnosis for his wife and musical collaborator Karin. With much of the album already written, the diagnosis in summer 2021 was to be the catalyst for what is the opening track on the album ‘She’s A Fighter’. Comprising just two lines “She’s a fighter, fighting for good”. At a little over two minutes it is a short sharp introduction to the album and features the whole Forster clan, wife Karin, daughter Loretta and son Louis. The coming together of the family at that time was hugely important.

For anyone new to Forster’s music that opening track is a bit of a red herring. For much of the album it is easy to imagine Forster in a small intimate venue with just the accompaniment of his acoustic guitar and the harmony vocals of Karin. This is americana with a definite lean in the direction of folk and the tempo of the album reflects that.

That pared-back arrangement forms the backbone of the album with subtle variations along the way. A particular shout-out goes to the cello and violin from James Harrison and Christine Dunaway respectively on ‘The Roads’. Their input brings a mournful air to proceedings, low-key but highly effective and evocative.

The album is a slow burner; it is not chock full of tracks that make the listener sit up and pay attention but the overall laid-back feel of the tracks gives the album a certain warmth and chilled ambience that will appeal to lovers of a quiet night in.

6/10
6/10

About Peter Churchill 178 Articles
Lover of intelligent singer-songwriters; a little bit country; a little bit folk; a little bit Americana. Devotee of the 'small is beautiful' school of thought when it comes to music venues.
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