Wed Apr 23 2008
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
The towering Australian songwriters Robert Forster and Grant McLennan founded the Go-Betweens in 1978, embarking on a brilliant creative partnership that both defined and transcended the band. Following the Go-Betweens’ split at the end of the ’80s, the two sporadically toured together and cowrote a screenplay—a comedy about a pineapple farmer and The Great Gatsby (still unproduced). The musicians officially regrouped as the Go-Betweens in 2000 and, unprecedented for a rock reunion, went on to record some of the band’s finest work, including 2005’s magnificent Oceans Apart. And then, they were no more: The next year, McLennan died of a heart attack, as good a sign as any that God, ever the pop Philistine, is no Go-Betweens fan.
The Evangelist is Forster’s first record since his bandmate’s passing. It is a solo album in name only: Latter-day Go-Betweens Adele Pickvance and Glenn Thompson accompany him; perhaps more notable is the presence of McLennan, who wafts through the album like a melodically inclined ghost. The late musician wrote portions of three songs, including two of the album’s peppiest choruses—his specialty, compared with the more lyrically centered Forster—as well as its best number, “Demon Days,” a forlorn ballad that the pair penned just before McLennan’s death. Elsewhere, most directly in “From Ghost Town,” Forster pays tribute to his friend: “And he knew more than I knew,” he sings. “And I hated what he hated too.” At long last, the recipe for creative harmony is revealed.