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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2000
It's just not been the same since Forster and Mclennan split up. My final sighting in 1990 was the greatest singer songwriter combo since Lennon & McCartney standing on the front edge of a stage in London , feet on monitors , banging out "Apology Accepted?" as if their lives depended on it. Of course their solo careers turned up some classic songs , as anyone who's seen Forster spellbind an audience with "Danger in the Past" will testify. This album brings together two very well differentiated solo careers. There had always been differences in approach and style - Forster as flamboyant as a cross between Oscar Wilde and Iggy Pop - and McLennan as flamboyant as a plumber's mate , albeit a plumber's mate with a wicked ear for a catchy tune. Somehow they moderated and fed off each other creating a magic that some feel had no equal since the aformentioned Scousers. The F.O.R.W. is like another first album in many ways , the guys finding their way as a duo again , and I think a lot of the songs were already written before they reunited. The talent is obviously undimmed , McLennan's "Magic in Here" is as good as "Batchelor Kisses" and Forster's "German Farmhouse" as devil-may-care as "Draining the Pool" , but I think if they make it to that difficult "2nd Album" then things may get very interesting indeed. Here's hoping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 September 2000
It's been a long wait for this new album but patience has its own rewards. This has a slightly "retro" feel to it - by that, I mean a return to the Go-Betweens sound of, say, Liberty Belle or, even, Spring Hill Fair. That's a very positive "one step back" as owners of those albums will know. Apart from that, this record has all the elements that make the Go-Betweens such a cherishable band: it's lyrical, witty, and tender. Sometimes the joins between the McLennan and the Forster songs show, but it was always thus and long may it remain.
It's a bonus, too, to see them teaming up with such a great group of musicians. Although some of the songs could have had a little more work on the production, there is a palpable sense of spontaneity in the playing and singing.
A very fine addition to the discography of a beautiful pop group.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2000
Recorded in just two weeks, the Go-Betweens' much-awaited comeback has more of a home-made feel to it than any of their albums since their last release for an indie label proper, 1983's "Beyond Hollywood". Sometimes you can't help but wish they'd gone for a more robust production - a couple of tracks, notably "The Clock" and "Surfing Magazines", suffer from a somewhat weedy mix - but, by and large, "Rachel Worth" finds Robert and Grant in fine fettle.
While Grant's songs continue, not always comfortably, to exhibit a certain wide-eyed reverence for LURV, some of his tunes this time are a bit of a departure from the slick mid-tempo guitar pop of his solo albums, with the single, "Going Blind" - a 'great bubblegum song' by his own description - bouncier than almost anything the band did during their 1980s heyday. Robert's contributions bear a more straightforward link to his solo work, exhibiting his trademark dry wit and plangent moodiness. Two of Robert's numbers here are easily the most elegaic numbers ever released under the Go-Betweens standard: the poignant "He Lives My Life" tells of swapping existences (Robert having moved to Bavaria while his German wife's friend moved out to Brisbane), whereas the closing "When She Sang About Angels", as elegantly laid-back as the Velvet's Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes", is ostensibly a tribute to Patti Smith. Elsewhere, Grant's "Heart and Home" and "Magic in Here", both solid little love songs, repay repeated hearings, as does Robert's only uptempo number, the raucous and quite possibly autobiographical "German Farmhouse".
All in all, The Friends of Rachel Worth is an impressive, if slightly flawed, comeback; a little too much has been sacrificed in the name of spontaneity, where a more considered approach to some songs and arrangements would perhaps have worked better. That said, it's a great album by anyone's standards, easily better than most of what might have passed for kindred releases in the past decade. One can't but look to a follow-up, though with Grant and Robert resident in separate continents, we can only hope we don't wait another ten years for it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2010
This is the first of the Go-Betweens reunion albums. Released in 2000, it finds Robert Forster and Grant McLennan (RIP) backed by the band Sleater-Kinney, who I am not really familiar with.

The material is generally mellower than their 80s material but it does contain some trademark jangly guitars and some very wistful numbers. Grant was always the poppier songwriter, and so it follows here, the album opening with his Magic in Here. Anchored by a brittle yet beautifully constructed riff, it ambles along nicely before leading into Robert's wonderful Spirit. It has a simple but utterly addictive guitar figure powering this mellow, elder-statesman like song. The flamboyant Robert Forster persona of yore has been replaced by a world-weary, wistful storyteller, and it suits him well.

2 more uptempo tracks follow, where the guitars have been beefed up a little, particularly on German Farmhouse, which is a Lou Reed-like rocker talking of his years of seclusion(!).

Most of the rest of the material is mellower though in general more downbeat than their previous material. It still contains 'sunshine', though it's more like winter sun breaking over a frosty landscape.

It's a very pleasant listen which should appeal to fans of the band and any new listeners wondering if they should check them out. Yes you should.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2007
So often when scanning the CD rack and ummmming with indecision I just whack this on and everything is right with the world. There are no duffers on this at all and it just makes me feel good. Can't ask for more imho!
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on 25 November 2000
The 90`s were far less interesting without the combined talents of Forster and McLennan. Since 1988`s premature split, after recording and touring to death one of the greatest albums ever made (16 lovers lane), both songwriters took two solo paths that were always overshadowed by their previous vehicle. `Friends` is how fans of the band would expect. Lushful at times, witty and full of heartfelt sensibility. Most of the songs match the best of their previous lps, except the single `going blind` which plays far too much on too easy chord refrain. The Go Betweens in a sense were there to challenge, this lp doesnt really do that, but it is by far better than most public school boy whining that nme journalists seem to love, aka coldplay. Get these friends round cause they were invited first.
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on 1 November 2000
The Go-Betweens legacy continues with a welcome return in the shape of The Friends of Rachel Worth. An exquisite pop master piece, sod the intellectualisation of other reviewers. To write about the music on this album would be liking dancing about architecture; buy this and remind yourself what pop is.
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