The Candle and the Flame by Robert Forster [9/10]

Albums from the wonderfully droll, poetic, and oddly radical Robert Forster sound at first to be amateurish but then speedily morph into ear candy. So too “The Candle and the Flame,” his first album since 2019’s Inferno. Produced at home and roping in family and friends as needed, Forster delivers nine delightful, low-key but muscular songs anchored by his trademark semi-conversational voice. The album kicks off with a brilliant curio, a furiously strummed riff over which Forster spits (singing to his wife who came down with ovarian cancer), “she’s a fighter, fighting for good,” before “Tender Years,” a gorgeous love song. “There’s a Reason to Live” offers homespun philosophy over an unforgettable, lilting melody, while the closer, “When I Was a Young Man,” is a lovely, poetic reflection on the past. Overall, The Candle and the Flame is a brilliant package that cuts through the ephemerality of much modern music.

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