Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jason Collett: "Reckon" (album review)

Jason Collett has never really shied away from making his political views known in his songs.  However, he's never been quite as overt about it as he is on his brand new album Reckon.

The most obvious political tracks are "I Wanna Rob a Bank" and "Song of the Silver Haired Hippy".  There are messages in there somewhere, if you can pay close enough attention through the listless arrangements.

That's an ailment much of the record suffers from.  The tracks are plodding, with very little of interest.  Collett's design is probably to focus your attention on his lyrics.  Instead, I found myself focusing my attention on the dots on my ceiling during songs like "Sailor Boy", "Miss Canada", "Where Things Go Wrong", and "Don't Let the Truth Get To You", to name but a few.

The slow songs aren't all lost causes.  The painstaking "Talk Radio" manages to engage you with a simple squeak of the guitar strings.  "My Daddy Was a Rock n Roller" tugs at the heartstrings to great effect.  An orchestral flair gives the folk number "Ask No Questions" some much welcome extra heft.

Collett is at his best here when the tempo picks up.  The funky "You're Not the One and Only Lonely One" is the standout, but the quick melodic la la la la's of "King James Rag" and the trippy guitar effects of "Black Diamond Girl" are not far behind.

Sadly, the song titles on Reckon are often better than the actual songs themselves.  It's a swing and a miss for Collett this time around.

Jason Collett plays the Great Hall in Toronto on October 2nd.

Best tracks: "You're Not the One and Only Lonely One", "My Daddy Was a Rock n Roller"

Track listing for Reckon:
  • Pacific Blue
  • Jasper John's Flag
  • King James Rag
  • Sailor Boy
  • Ask No Questions
  • You're Not the One and Only Lonely One
  • Miss Canada
  • Talk Radio
  • I Wanna Rob a Bank
  • Where Things Go Wrong
  • Song of the Silver Haired Hippy
  • Black Diamond Girl
  • My Daddy Was a Rock n Roller
  • Don't Let the Truth Get To You
  • When the War Came Home

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