ROBERT FORSTER – ” The Candle and the Flame ” 

Posted: February 5, 2023 in MUSIC

Robert Forster—former singer-songwriter for Australian indie rockers the Go-Betweens—has released his eighth solo album. He co-produced the album with his wife, Karin Bäumler, and his son, Louis, formerly of the Goon Sax. Forster also enlisted former Go-Betweens and Warm Nights bass player Adele Pickvance, as well as Scott Bromiley and Luke McDonald of the John Steele Singers, to contribute to the new LP.

This is a record of sombre hope, stubborn joy and a steadfast buoyancy perched on a wobbly fulcrum, grief and fear on one side, grit and belief on the other. This being who it is, no one familiar with Forster’s work and in possession of their wits would bet against him and Karin landing anywhere but on the latter half of that divide. “Candle”, sparse in its way but rich and direct is, start to finish, a-brim with the doing of life. And, if we may say, what a start.

One of the songs on the album, “She’s a Fighter,” was partly inspired by Bäumler’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent chemotherapy treatment and recovery. “She’s a Fighter,” bristling with the energy and spark it deserves, also, thanks to the tight acoustic coil it’s wrapped around, rather beams with a proud and loving streak of pure appreciation, its brevity, deft punch and minimalist lyric – add “fighting for good” to that title you have the words entire – as well a ringing curl of electric each contributing to an impression of basic awe and admiration toward its subject (notably, though nearly every track conceivably fits ‘that’ narrative only “Fighter” was written post-diagnosis). As opening statement it’s a stunner even though, by every thinkable metric, the record’s just getting started. There is simply no slack to be taken up anywhere on here, a fact the next track underlines with astonishing grace.

“The Candle And The Flame” consists of 9 songs written by Robert. Produced by Robert, Karin Bäumler and Louis Forster (The Goon Sax), “The recording sessions for the album were done sporadically over six months. Sometimes just one or two days a month. As that was all Karin’s strength and condition allowed her to do. So we had to record ‘live’, catching magical moments and going for ‘feel’. And that became the sound of the album.” says Robert.

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