The dying sound of distant drums: the best of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan

I thought this would a be a ten or fifteen-song list at most, but despite the expected lapses into passive musical accompaniment expected of strumming-addicted singer-songwriters, the solo work of Robert Forster and Grant McLennan boasts the same intelligence that the Go-Betweens flashed as a matter of course. When they went their separate ways in 1990, they presaged a couple of notable careers: Forster wrung out of Mick Harvey a reverb- and organ-heavy sound that Harvey would pursue with Polly Jean Harvey, while McLennan and John Keane reclaimed a kind of pastoral secondhand Americana out of step with Keane’s former clients R.E.M. A comp released a decade ago gathered most of these tunes, as powerful a collective statement as any Go-Be’s album. for the curious, seek Danger in the Past and Horsebreaker Star if you want a distillation of their strengths: Forster’s wry take on the legacy of friends dead and dying while he falls deeper in love, and McLennan’s use of American musical tropes to create a formalist bulwark against deep feeling.

1. Baby Stones
2. Put You Down
3. Stones For You
4. Danger in the Past
5. Pandanus
6. Lighting Fires
7. Haven’t I Been a Fool
8. Demon Days
9. I Can Do
10. Horsebreaker Star
11. Beyond the Law
12. I’ve Been Looking for Somebody
13. Ice in Heaven
14. Don’t You Cry For Me No More
15. I Love Myself (And I Always Have)
16. Justice
17. Coming Up For Air
18. If It Rains.
19. If I Was a Girl
20. Easy Come Easy Go
21. Black Mule
22. It Ain’t Easy
23. Thought That I Was Over You
24. 121
25. In Your Bright Ray

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