Artist: Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders
Label: Self Portrait / Inertia
Date: November 7th, 2014
Ok this guy has a deep, relentless voice, so this album may be difficult to consume in one sitting for some. However, if your ears are favourable to such baritone crooning, you will want to drown in Jack Ladder’s (Tim Rogers) vocals.
This is the fourth outing from Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders, the first on Self Portrait and from what I’ve read, the first to be produced by Kim Moyes (of Sydney-based electronica duo, The Presets). It’s a nice combination of skill sets here made tastier by the fact the Dreamlanders are no ordinary backing ensemble.
Kirin J. Callinan & Donny Benet both have burgeoning solo careers, plus Callinan has roots in Sydney Indie Rockers, Mercy Arms, Kim Moyes, mentioned above and drums handled deftly by Laurenz Pike better known by some through his group PVT (formerly Pivot) the first Australian artist signed to the Warp label. It therefor goes without saying that the musicianship here is top notch first class and tight. They play like they’ve been together since birth.
The lyrical talent of Jack Ladder needs to be highlighted here as well because in some ways, the lyrics are the unnamed band member on the album. In an age where literate lyrics are almost an impediment to success, the songs on this album have no need of video clips, so richly described is each track, you only need a modicum of imagination for these tracks to play out large behind closed eyes.
Another added bonus for the ears is a guest appearance by Sharon Van Etten, on opener Come On Back This Way & To Keep And To Be Kept, though I think her voice is best utilized on the latter track. Ironically, it’s the one song where the lovers win out. It’s a depressingly dark outlook on love detailed fastidiously and delivered dark and deep down from our Jack, knockdowns shutouts putdowns and letdowns, worldly and personal all at once. Great stuff if you’re right there with him.
For my ears, it’s the first six tracks that stand out on repetition. I guess this would be one of those albums I would have hailed as a brilliant EP if had been so. Having said that, this album is well worth buying, there is beauty here for the ears to be sure and one day, love might just dump on you and you’ll know where to go to find sonic solace. I imagine this album is best served with a nice red, aired of course.