Monday, May 12, 2008


Mathematically, the brand new Robert Forster album, "The Evangelist", is three-quarters of a Go-Betweens album. But some things are not susceptible to simple mathematics, and the Go-Betweens were [it still hurts to type that past tense] such a thing. As is now common knowledge, this album contains several songs started by Grant before he died. It is to Robert Forster's enduring credit that he has made such a wonderful fist of performing an impossibly difficult task.

On the one hand, it is difficult, in the absence of notes, to tell where Grant ended and Robert began. On the other hand, it sounds almost nothing like any of Robert's previous solo albums. In fact, it sounds not so much like a continuation of where the Go-Betweens were headed in their second incarnation, as like a rewind-the-tape continuation of where the Go-Betweens were "at" before they ceased to exist the first time around.

Which is both a lovely and extraordinary treat, and perhaps an unexpected confirmation of my long-standing Theory Of The Go-Betweens, viz., that each time they reappeared, either with a new record or, to stretch the theory a bit, with a new band after a long hiatus, they sounded not like what had just come before but like the thing that came before what had just come before. Try it: I think you'll find it holds true at least up to "16 Lovers Lane". (To be simplistic and not wholly accurate, what I hear are swings between (a) tension and (b) beauty.) And, treating the three post-reformation albums as a bloc, it holds true with this album as well.

Thank you, Robert, this is an album that I will be holding close to me, for a long time. There will be tears (there are as I write this) but they will be as much of joy as of sorrow.