The Candle And The Flame: Family Project: Robert Forster is back

The Candle And The Flame
Family project: Robert Forster is back

Music as “rescue hatch”: Robert Forster. photo

© Stephen Booth/Wallpaper Records /dpa

The best music is often created under the impression of strokes of fate. This also applies to Robert Forster’s eighth solo album. A special song is dedicated to his German wife.

The Australian Robert Forster, once co-founder of the indie pop band The Go-Betweens, is considered one of the most interesting singer-songwriters in the world. After four years, the 65-year-old is back with his eighth solo album – and he has brought his family and many friends on board.

The nine songs on “The Candle And The Flame” were recorded over six months in Forster’s hometown of Brisbane. The album includes ballads like “Tender Years” and “When I Was A Young Man” as well as the energetic couplet “She’s A Fighter”.

With the whole family

The lyrics to this song are dedicated to his German wife and musical companion Karin Bäumler. Forster wrote the song in the wake of Bäumler’s cancer diagnosis last year. It consists of just two lines of lyrics: “She’s A Fighter” and “Fighting For Good”. The piece was also recorded purely as a family project: in addition to Forster on acoustic guitar, son Louis can be heard on guitar and percussion, daughter Loretta on bass and Karin Bäumler on xylophone. “Because the song means so much to us, we decided to record it as a family,” said Forster.

The whole album was created under the impression of his wife’s illness, explains Forster on his website. It also includes two live recordings from an impromptu studio session. Music had become “a rescue hatch” during this time. “It might seem strange to be making an album under these circumstances and looking back we really don’t know how we did it, but we know it helped us as a family.”

Compatriot Nick Cave once described Forster as “the truest and strangest poet of his generation”. He proves this again in his latest work. “The Roads” takes place in the Bavarian countryside, where Robert and Karin met and lived for many years. “Go Free” was created during the Corona lockdown. The song “It’s Only Poison” is rhythmically reminiscent of classics from The Velvet Underground, which can be taken as a compliment.


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