Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders – Hurtsville
June 10, 2011
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His real name is Tim Rogers. There would be a lot of pressure being a musician in Australia these days with that name, but while the You Am I front-man has had his share of fame, Jack Ladder has been bubbling along, just below the surface. Between opening for acts that would blitz past him, and making appearances on RockWiz, Jack Ladder has slowly been acquiring a solid back catalogue of albums. After I got hooked on The Baker’s Son yesterday, I took a wander down JB this morning to pick up his new album Hurtsville. It’s not very often I go into JB with a plan of action like this, usually preferring to browse casually and try to pick music that will impress the staff. Whether the girl had ever heard of Jack Ladder before today was questionable, but I hope that I enlightened her somewhat.
Along with many uni students, I am trapped in my room studying at the moment. Most of my listening habits during exams have revolved around classic rock albums, with a need to listen to Money For Nothing every day for inspiration (“Money for nothing and your chicks for free.” Maybe one day) Hurtsville has a discrete subtlety that I found incredibly soothing. I feel obliged to mention the obvious similarities to Nick Cave, but at times there was more of an Ian Curtis vibe, especially on Blinded By Love. In fact, the album could easily be mistaken for a Curtis solo album. Or at least how my wistful mind imagines a Curtis solo album would have sounded. Nevertheless, the comparisons to the great rock crooners remain. There are hints of Lou Reed in lead single Cold Feet, and Hurtsville occasionally sounds like last year’s indie buzz-band The National.
But perhaps we should just forget the comparison’s and judge Jack Ladder on his own merits. Hurtsville shows a rare versatility, rarely seen in artists these days. While not the most familiar with Jack’s earlier work, you can hear an obvious change in styles from some of his other singles. It is not as jazzy, for lack of a better word, and rather has a more gothic 80s sound. It really is quite an inspired change, which may allow Jack to reach a broader audience.
It takes something special to make me actually go out and buy an album, and I’m glad that my efforts did not go to waste. I can’t see it getting a huge reception around the country, but I’ve been wrong before.