Jason Collett – [Album]

Monday, 08 February 2010

There are few things more tantalizing in modern rock than a songwriter that rips a hole in the fabrics of both time and taste, stands outside them and makes a sound that could have been produced yesterday as easily as it could have been made one, two, three or four decades ago. Could that be called timeless work? Sure – but more accurate would be to say that, no matter when the record in question was released, it would have found receptive ears because the music transcends shifting tastes and values and speaks in a common language about themes that are imminently relatable for anyone; everyone can take something away from it.

Those sorts of records are rare, but it's the sort that Jason Collett has made with Rat A Tat Tat.

From the opening back porch folk/R&B rumination of “Rave On Sad Songs” (maybe it's a little more 'garage' than 'back porch' given where the album was recorded), Collett lays out a banquet of long-held hard feelings (“Happiness is for beginners”) set against music that defies easy categorization because it incorporates a ton of established and revered sounds and intermingles them evenly; the more romantic and cynical sides of Bob Dylan get slammed together with a conglomeration of otherworldly David Bowie Phillie-ish space rock (“Lake Superior”), sidewalkin' Motown (“Love is A Dirty Word”), the delicacy of Paul Simon (“Cold Blue Halo”) and even late-Beatles-esque acid-touched balladry (“Winnipeg Winds”) in equal measures and added to these songs with love. For some singers, such wild genre amalgamations might come off as scattered or unfocused but, here, Collett holds the whole thing together with a consistent, folksy tenor that never wavers in tone and so keeps the focus centered perfectly. No matter which way the songs might turn, there's always Collett's unique sibilance and sensibility behind each change  and, even when he reaches in to sounds that should sit like a pickle in a punchbowl (like the Creole soul of “Vanderpool Vanderpool”) it comes across as just being more flavor added for listeners to revel in when they find it.

Now, anyone that followed Collett through the far more rockist timbres that characterized Here's To Being Here could have seen an album like Rat A Tat Tat coming, but that doesn't mean the record won't generate excitement. There were roots to be found in Being Here certainly, and they did imply the possibility of a release like Rat A Tat Tat, it's just thrilling to hear that possibility actually come together.



Jason Collett – "Little Tiger" – To Wit To Woo EP

Further Reading:

Ground Control's review of Here's To Being Here.


Rat A Tat Tat
comes out on March 9, 2010. Pre-order it here on Amazon .


Jason Collett – [Album]

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Twenty years ago George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan came together by chance, formed The Travelling Wilburys and inadvertently revitalized the careers of each member involved as, maybe in the spirit of competition, they remembered how to write great songs. Conversely, every time a member of Broken Social Scene splinters off to do another album of their own, those albums get progressively better. Not for nothing the Travelling Wilburys come to mind as Here's To Being Here rambles forth and Collett steps to the mic. With Dylan's growl and Petty's lonesome melodic sense coupled with anthemic, bring-it-on-home choruses, these dozen tracks owe a debt to the roots and folk-rock greats but, while Son Volt would cite a lot of the same influences, tracks like "Papercut Hearts," "Nothing To Lose," and "No Redemption Song" build upon that base with a set of ironically reflective, proverb-heavy lyrics that don't exactly shoot straight, but take on a universal quality in their combination of old school sentimental songwriting and a new-schooler's awareness that these themes have been done before. That awareness adds a healthy dose of artifice rather than attempting to remake the art and is the ideal solution to not retread the same ground again.

Those aspects of the singer's songwriting combined as well with the much more muscular presence of his band on Here's To Being Here makes a great case for Jason Collett's longevity after Broken Social Scene breaks up and eventually goes on to other things. With this album, he has secured a career in his own right that will endure beyond any fad; Here's To Being Here is timeless in that it could have been made any time in the last forty years and will still sound fresh in at least forty more.

Here's to Being Here will be out 2.05.08 on Arts & Crafts.  

More on Jason Collett here:

Download “Out of Time” from Here's To Being Here – [mp3]

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