Inferno by Robert Forster [7/10]

A man of style and wit and smarts, Robert Forster is. A real songwriter who makes the best of a fragile voice. Half of the legendary Go-Betweens. His newie, “Inferno,” is an odd fish that works in spite of itself. Quite a few of the songs have such simple plodding underpinnings that I almost recoiled, but the grace and verve of the lyrics carry even those ditties through. With varied instrumental backing and a clear sonic feel, the album readily graces a road trip. As ever with Forster, it’s the standout tracks that transform. “I’ll Look After You” is a touchingly na├»ve long song that comes straight from the heart. “Inferno (Brisbane in Summer)” surges, an urgent crunch paean to a city few sing about. And at the end, one of his best songs ever, “One Bird in the Sky,” his voice aching (“time to hit the ground, time to walk around”) for the simple pure life.

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