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Jen Cloher : In Blood Memory

You really have to admire an artist who attains success with a certain sound and style, and then risks alienating current fans and critics by exploring brand new musical territory with each new release. Melbourne songstress Jen Cloher received an elusive and well-deserved ARIA nomination for her debut album Dead Wood Falls in 2006, which was a dark, demure but still compelling collection of folky, indie singer/songwriter tracks. She then followed that up with the excellent, more open and alive Hidden Hands in 2009, which injected just a hint of pop flavoured rock into her sound.

 

Her third record, In Blood Memory, expands the palette yet again. At times across the course of the album we get the same, unassuming atmospherics that we heard on the debut (Needs), but then elsewhere she seriously gets her country rock on (Kamikaze Origami and David Bowie Eyes), lifts the tempo on first single Mount Beauty, which is just an excellent song, and even sounds like she’s been ingesting a bit of Iggy Pop and The Stooges in recent times on Toothless Tiger. Hold My Hand rounds things off in epic and magnificent style.

 

On top of all this, the production has been kept deliberately raw and real, so this is just about as honest a record as you can possibly get, whilst still remaining thoroughly listenable. Long time fans into the first two records should prepare themselves for something very different on In Blood Memory, but they are also advised to listen with an open mind. The new record is still very Jen Cloher, and still very bloody good. Superb, in fact. This chick stands head and shoulders above the vast majority of singer/songwriters in this country, and that continues on her third album.

 

BY ROD WHITFIELD 

 

Best Track: Mount Beauty

If You Like These, You’ll Like This: JORDIE LANE, MIA DYSON, COURTNEY BARNETT

In A Word: Beautiful