Robert Forster – Inferno – Album Review by Killian Laher
When considering what sort of artist would have an album titled Inferno, Robert Forster is not the first name that comes to mind. Yet, this is the title of his seventh solo album in a solo career of relatively infrequent releases. It opens with Crazy Jane And The Day of Judgement, a WB Yeats poem set to music. This should ring alarm bells, however, the music has a simple, lightness of touch, with a couple of recurring notes on a guitar to anchor the song. It’s relaxed and relatively sparse, with just the odd hint of piano here and there, allowing Forster’s voice to take centre stage, a great way to open the album.
After this? As Forster’s albums go, this one is pretty consistent. No Fame is a taut, Lou Reed-style gentle rocker, while The Morning is a relaxed, lazy sunny day ballad that sounds like nothing much at first but on repeat listens it gets right under your skin. Even the reflective, bossa-nova of Life Has Turned A Page works really well in Forster’s hands with a nostalgic tale of a couple who moved to Byron Bay.
There are a couple of uptempo tracks which don’t suit him so well, such as the Suffragette City-channelling title track and the strident, call-and-response I’m Gonna Tell It. These tracks are by no means terrible, but nothing special. He plays it best when he slows down, such as the gorgeous VU-style ballad I’ll Look After You and closing track One Bird In The Sky. This final one has a very autumnal feel, with lump-in-the-throat inducing music and lyrics about how “I’m late, there’s no one I can see”, building gradually to a fuller sound, adding violin and piano.
So a slightly uneven album, like most of his others to be honest. But there are enough resonant ballads here to keep the listener interested. Glad he’s still at it.
Track List –
1. Crazy Jane And The Day of Judgement
2. No Fame
3. Inferno (Brisbane In Summer)
4. The Morning
5. Life Has Turned A Page
7. I’ll Look After You
8. I’m Gonna Tell It
9. One Bird In The Sky
Inferno (Brisbane In Summer)