Fricke's Picks: Robert Forster's Requiem for the Go-Betweens' Grant McLennan

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The Evangelist (Yep Roc), Robert Forster's first solo album in more than a decade, is his requiem for a heavyweight: Grant McLennan, Forster's fellow singer-songwriter in the Go-Betweens, the quietly grand pointed-pop band they founded together in Brisbane, Australia, in 1978 and — after a series of masterful albums, then a decade's split — re-formed in 2000. McLennan died in 2006 of a heart attack at age 48, ending the Go-Betweens for good. But Forster proudly and effectively summons his late friend in these 10 songs, three of which Forster co-wrote with McLennan. In the credits, Forster notes which lines McLennan contributed — actually, it's not hard to hear the latter's declarative way with emotional crisis amid Forster's narrative detail in the jaunty chorus of "Let Your Light In, Babe." But McLennan is present even in Forster's songs, such as "Did She Overtake You" and "Don't Touch Anything," in the way Forster's deep, strong singing and spare, sturdy arrangements bring to mind his and McLennan's bonded jangle and candor on Go-Betweens classics like 1983's Before Hollywood and '84's Spring Hill Fair. "A dream ran through everything that he did," Forster sings of his bandmate in the rolling country of "It Ain't Easy." But that was a shared gift, and it remains a living thing in these songs.