September 09, 2021
On an album born from a ‘series of disasters’, the shapeshifting gloom merchant interrogates his trope with dry wit and lush, orchestral strings
Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders: Hijack! review – black humour and drama from acclaimed auteur
The Australian music industry is unkind to its auteurs. We have little patience for the artist with no hits; who routinely reinvents and rejects their supposed genre; who isn’t really a solo performer but not really a band. Hijack! is the sixth album from Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders, AKA Sydney songwriter Tim Rogers (no, not the You Am I one) and Friends. And in the wake of its release – beyond the accompanying videos, singles, reviews – it will stand purely as a new door into an already spectacular body of work.
Since 2005 the towering, baritone-voiced Ladder has released five albums, spanning spindly folk, jittery-60s blues rock, gothic electro-pop, crooning new-wave and chintzy synth tunes. Each expertly nails a sound and atmosphere, before being discarded wholesale for the next. Terrible moves for building a fanbase in a small market. But those who stick with Ladder’s universe find a cult devoted to the clever arrangements, startling sounds, hidden hooks and uneasy dissonance of an archetypal gloom merchant interrogating his trope with dry wit. And also just five wall-to-wall great records of arch, wonky songs.
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