In a never-ending cycle of collecting music, I bought the five-disc album collection from The Go-Betweens based solely on their reputation. Even though this is now the sixth album of Robert Forster music that I have in my (online) collection, this is the first one I’ve ever listened to. Inferno is the man’s seventh solo album and is a noted favourite of Andy Greenwald’s.
Forster looks dapper with a great outlook on life, subtly uplifting and spiritual. “I know what it’s like to be ignored forgotten” he sings on “Remain” where the lyrics recall James Clear’s lessons of doing great work in obscurity. To a flamenco tune, “Life Has Turned A Page” sees a family growing old where the breezy “I’ll Look After You” focuses on supporting each other in a relationship. “Inferno (Brisbane in the Summer)” is a fiery track about the increasing heat in Australia that is burning up the country.
After the youthful punk energy of Fontaines D.C., coming to this album is a complete 180. “The Morning” is a reflection on waking up to the warming sun after a scary dream, both grateful and reflective. At five minutes, last track “One Bird In The Sky” is almost epic about “eat only what I eat and breathe what I breathe”. Clocking in at 35 minutes, Forster has created a musical short story collection about growing older and accepting who you are in this ridiculous world.
A commenter on Fontaines D.C.’s youtube page wondered if someone over the age of 50 could be into this new band and go see them. It’s a true comment and one that I’m sure lots of older fans are feeling about their debut album, Dogrel. It’s been quite a few years, maybe even going back to The Libertines that rock listeners could get swept up in the joy of discovering not just a new band but also one to believe in. The young Dublin band came together through a love of novels and poetry but fuel that into music that is a mix of rock, punk, and indie.
One of the notable calling cards of the band is the deadpan sung/talked vocals of Grian Chattan that emphasis his Irish accent. Behind Chattan, there is heat brought in singles “Hurricane Laughter”, “Chequeless Reckless” and “Boys In A Better Land”. “Roy’s Tune” is a softer touch to the band’s sound whereas “Liberty Belle” celebrates violence with a Ramones like stomp. Every tune here stands on its own and in Dogrel, Fontaines D.C. have released a landmark debut.