The Wednesday Review – Hurtsville by Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders
Not having seen a decent movie this week I thought it was time to review an album that I have been listening to on a near daily basis for the past month. Hurtsville by Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders is the third album by Jack Ladder, a Sydney born musician, and the first as a collaborative effort with his new band the Dreamlanders.
The comparisons with Nick Cave seem to be a favourite with other reviewers and I can see why in a fashion but this also discredits Ladder at the same time. Considering the rather vast influence Cave has had on just about every modern Australian musician it seems unfair to compare Ladder with him simply because they both have deep baritone voices. Yes there are comparisons but lets not go too overboard shall we?
Jack Ladder’s previous albums suffered, if anything, from a much to wide breadth. Their large range of differing styles song to song was interesting but were not very captivating. Fortunately Hurtsville does not suffer from this and Ladder seems to have discovered a style of music that will hopefully see him well in the future as well.
The stand out song on this album is undoubtedly “Cold Feet” which has been given some radio play by TripleJ and other alternative radio stations but not nearly enough. It is a dark and moody song that is really pushed along by its almost melodramatic instrumentation. My second favourite is called “Dumb love” and is a great change of pace in the album with a far more upbeat and catchy riff to accompany it.
There are a few criticisms that I have of the album that, whilst relativity minor, stop it from getting top marks. The lyrical content is ridiculously all over the place in quality. Whilst some lyrics are extraordinarily clever and well written others are little more then puns or cliches that do not fit the rest of the lyrical tone. On top of this certain songs run a little too long and you’re almost inclined to reach for the skip button after the five or six minute mark which I never consider to be a good thing on any album.
It is really the entirety of Hurtsville that gives it strength. There are no bad songs on this album, simply ones that stand out, and all will maintain a listen on a complete run through. By no means a perfect album Hurtsville still manages to deliver a very solid and brooding sound that just simply works. Highly recommended.
Four Nick Cave comparisons out of Five.