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Jack Ladder & the Dreamlanders: Blue Poles

You’re going to need some time to process this one, because Blue Polesis a danceable unsettler.

While it’s way more melodic and certainly funkier than anything in the Jack Ladder canon to date, the music belies the dark, depressing themes of the lyrics, leaving you with a spot of cognitive dissonance. 

‘Can’t Stay’, for instance, has a Stone-sy strut, but between “barking at the dog” and getting up in the morning only to fall back asleep, our protagonist isn’t in great shape. Likewise, in ‘Dates’, which has a ‘Get Your Rocks Off’ Primal Scream/glam rock shake to it, he sings of hanging his hat on events in the calendar to get him through.  

Highlights include Ladder at his somnolent best on ‘Susan’, and ‘White Flag’, a heartbreaker about complicated love. ‘Merciful Reply’ is a gothic, doowop corker, mirroring some of the themes in the Clash’s ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’, with all the heart hurt of ‘Hurtsville’.  

As it’s Jack Ladder, Bowie and Leonard Cohen hover over the album in the best possible way. Also, thoughts about the titular reference to Jackson Pollock’s infamously expensive chaotic canvas are welcome – Blue Polesas an album is no abstract, although it is kind of surreal.  

8/10