Thursday, February 25, 2010

Album Review: Robert Forster – Danger in the Past


This was Robert Forster’s first solo album. Released in 1990 after the dissolution of the Go-Betweens, it has a great picture of Robert on the cover. It kicks off with Baby Stones, which is a dead ringer for early REM, around Reckoning direction. The song is driven along nicely by jangly guitar and piano. Forster is a great songwriter, and good guitarist but is a bit of a non-singer, his voice is something of an acquired taste. It’s followed by the River People which is a kind of folky ballad, with down-by-the-river type imagery.

Leave Here Satisfied is more dramatic, with quieter verses before building up to a crescendo for the chorus before the music drops away again. It’s in a minor key, which gives it a different sound from both Baby Stones and most other Go-Betweens songs. There’s a great line on this one: “there was dust on the piano keys, dust on the backyard trees, dust on the doorlocks but not on me.”

After a couple of songs which to my ears are a little disappointing, things improve with the title track, which is a little doomier than what had gone before. It’s arranged like a Nick Cave ballad, with darkish sounding verses and then chorus which is little more than the song-title repeated a few times. But it works really well, as does second-last song I’ve Been Looking for Somebody. It’s the classic story of the guy who never thought he could find a woman but then surprises himself by doing just that.

Overall the album is a little patchy but at least half of it is great.