November 7, 2010

Ned Collette – Jokes and Trials
singer/songwriter, folk

Every music geek has their own little discoveries. When I first got into Ned Collette, he was almost completely unknown. I downloaded one of his songs (“The Laughter Across the Street”, incidentally) after it was recommended on a music site, liked it, investigated him online, discovered he was due to play a live show in my area in the coming days, attended the Ned Collette - Jokes and Trialsgig, loved every minute of it, bought the album and finally became a die-hard fan, preaching his brilliance to anyone who’ll listen. There’s something about that experience, particularly when combined with the intimate feel of the album, that makes Jokes and Trials feel really special to me in a way that transcends musical quality and moves into the realm of something more personal. “Song For Louis” (and its separate-track coda “The Happy Kidnapper”), which opens the album, remains my absolute favourite of his songs, with “The Laughter Across the Street” not far behind, while “A Plea for You Through Me”, “Heaven’s the Key”, “Blame” and lead single “Boulder” are all essential cuts as well. Collette has gained a bit more exposure through two more stellar releases (one of which is Future Suture, which we’ve already seen on this list and I’d concede is probably more technically accomplished), but he’s still woefully unknown in most circles, which is a tremendous shame given that he’s writing some of the smartest and most effortlessly appealing music in the world right now.



October 8, 2010

Ned Collette Future Suture
folk, singer-songwriter

Ned Collette - Future SutureFuture Suture feels like a logical progression from Collette’s debut, Jokes and Trials. Retaining that first album’s sense of intimacy and warmth, Collette expands his sonic palate, fleshing out his guitar-based sound with extra instrumentation – not merely touches of strings, woodwind, brass, etc, though these are present, but also with full-band arrangements that give these songs a really broad, vivid sound, pushing the album in a more outward-reaching direction that makes for an interesting variation from the more insular approach of his debut. The recording is also significantly more crisp and professional, and this complements the fuller sound well. As with Jokes and Trials, Collette’s Cohenesque lyricism is a major selling point, and lines like the slightly sinister “Until you show your cards we’ll sing your praises” (“Show Your Hand”) and the weary resignation in “I’ll swap with you right now a good plan for a fling” (“Sell Your Life”, also my favourite track) are really sharply affecting. With just nine tracks – perfectly sequenced and without the slightest dip in quality – Future Suture is very pleasingly economical, and with its poetic lyrics and the fine musical details littered generously throughout, it’s one of the most highly replayable albums of the decade. I’ve had a lot of time for Collette’s work over the last five years, and Future Suture is further evidence that he stands out as one of Australia’s finest musicians, and a leading light in the singer-songwriter genre.