Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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ROBERT FORSTER
The Evangelist
Yep Roc

Surviving half of indelible Australian songwriting combo is still collaborating, even after death.

"There was melody, there was harmony, there was sweet Sherrie, but it was melody he loved most of all," Robert Forster recalls in "It Ain't Easy," his warm, quick-stepping tribute to fellow Go-Between Grant McLennan. It's one of three Forster-McLennan titles on Forster's finest solo album--his first since McLennan's fatal 2006 heart attack. Especially on the Go-Betweens' later records, McLennan's abiding tunefulness set off Forster's spikier, talkier songs, so they glinted like knives in the sun. Here "The Evangelist," which mulls the return to Brisbane that displaced his German wife, and the standout "If It Rains," about a drought, both precede excellent McLennan collaborations. Conjuring doubts and hopes with focused tenderness, Forster's writing has never been surer. For flow and chemistry's sake, let's hope there are more McLennan melodies in his kit.

Blender, May 2008