The three-word answer is all that Jen Cloher requires to describe her fourth album, a letter in triplicate addressed to themes of Music, Australia and Love. It’s the most honest album she’s ever written. Jen likes best to tell the truth.
Jen Cloher is the culmination of a period of artistic and personal growth in which the artist took her rightful place as the punk-rock figurehead of Melbourne’s famous DIY music scene. The NIDA graduate is now an outspoken advocate for artist rights, a label boss and band-leader, she also happens to be the partner of an internationally acclaimed songwriter. Cloher’s politics and her fascinating life-story are enough justification to take notice here, but it’s the music that will have you returning to this album again and again.
Cloher says: “It’s a classic rock album, recorded live in one room with minimal overdubs… I’m not too good at going into descriptive language around my own music but I suppose it is intimate without ever feeling too precious.”
The bulk of Cloher’s album was recorded in October 2016 by Greg Walker amidst the rolling greenery of rural Australia. The band that first played together on Cloher’s acclaimed third album, the Australian Music Prize nominated In Blood Memory, are now bold and assured. These are songs of distance and songs of driving, they are split here and there by the melodic intricacy of guitarist Courtney Barnett while drummer Jen Sholakis and bassist Bones Sloane add weight and space, playing only what is needed, leaving room for the songs to breathe, transform and soar.
The record was completed in March 2017 with Tom Schick at Jeff Tweedy’s famous ‘Loft’ Studios in the depths of Chicago’s winter.
In 2006 Jen Cloher released her debut album Dead Wood Falls as Jen Cloher & The Endless Sea, garnering an Aria nomination for Best Female Artist. A twist of events saw Jen relocate to New Zealand for two years where she continued to write. After a brief hiatus she returned to Melbourne enlisting the talents of Laura Jean, Biddy Connor and Tom Healy (Tiny Ruins) and recorded her second album Hidden Hands (2009).
In 2010 The Endless Sea disbanded and Jen took time out to experiment with new sounds, returning in 2013 with her third album In Blood Memory. With Courtney Barnett on guitar, Bones Sloane on bass and Jen Sholakis on drums In Blood Memory is regarded by many as her strongest work to date. It was nominated for Australia’s most prestigious music award, the Australian Music Prize in 2013.
“I gave In Blood Memory a 3 ½-star review in July and wrote: “Jen Cloher sounds fed up. Sick to death of all the posers, all the rote indie rock, all the twee folk fops.” I was wrong, it’s better than 3 ½ stars, it’s a rattlesnake that backs you into a corner and is just about to strike … but then transmogrifies into a calla lily.” ****1/2 Herald Sun.
“Jen Cloher’s third record is a short, sharp look at her continuously evolving style, this time evoking vivid musical pictures of the Velvet Underground and Crazy Horse. As usual though, it’s a record that sees her voice strong and true, her songwriting sharp, a musician at the top of her game.” Rolling Stone.
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