Robert Forster returns at long last with splendid ‘Songs to Play’

Robert Forster‘Songs to Play’
Robert Forster (Tapete)
3.5 stars out of 5

Robert Forster earned his stripes as a founding member (with Grant McLennan) of acclaimed Australian alternative rockers The Go-Betweens. The 58-year-old singer/songwriter has managed to deliver first-rate solo albums periodically over the past 25 years, with none better than 2008 gem “The Evangelist.” It’s taken Forster seven long years to record the follow-up to that masterpiece, but (thankfully) the wait is over with the release of “Songs to Play.”

Robert Forster CD“I had originally envisaged the gap between my last album and my new one as five years,” Forster explains. “I wanted time to pass, for there to be a cut-off. I knew what happened next would be the start of something new. Five years became seven.”

Though not quite as good as its near-perfect predecessor, “Songs to Play” proves well worth the wait. Forster’s songwriting chops haven’t faded a bit, as evidenced by the 10 mostly-excellent originals on the new record. Opener “Learn to Burn” is splendid, as are standouts “Songwriters on the Run,” “And I Knew,” “I’m So Happy for You,” “Turn on the Rain” and “I Love Myself and I Always Have.” Hopefully Forster won’t make us wait so long for the next record. (Jeffrey Sisk)

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