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Calling from a Country Phone

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Album Review

Calling From a Country Phone is sometimes referred to as Robert Forster's "country" album, but the folk-rock sound (with occasional pedal steel) recalls Felt's Me and a Monkey on the Moon more than anything that has ever come out of Nashville. Forster's no-frills production suits his idiosyncratic and dramatic style, which requires very little in terms of accompaniment for its effect. "Atlanta Lie Low" seems too low-key to open an album, but it is immediately followed by "121," an unusually straight rocker on which Forster's delivery actually suggests Elvis Presley at times. "Drop" was the album's single, a dynamic song that deserved to be heard but would have found no place on the charts of the day, and "Falling Star" is just as good. Calling From a Country Phone is the only one of Forster's solo albums that was never released in the U.S., which is both disappointing and understandable since it probably would not have gained an audience beyond the adulatory cult surrounding the Go-Betweens.


Born: 29 June 1957 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although commonly considered to be the darker, artier half of the creative force of the Go-Betweens -- John Lennon to Grant McLennan's Paul McCartney, as it were -- Robert Forster has always had a knack for crafty pop songs along with the brooding ballads he contributed to the Go-Betweens' albums, and his solo career has shown a healthy mix of the two styles. Forster, a native of Brisbane, Australia, formed the Go-Betweens with McLennan at Queensland University in 1978. The duo kept the band going...
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Calling from a Country Phone, Robert Forster
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