Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders today share their six full-length studio album Hijack!, out now via Endless Recordings.
Following the recent ten year anniversary and re-issue of seminal and critically acclaimed release Hurtsville, Hijack! is Jack Ladder's most direct, honest and ambitious work to date. The album has such a strong sonic identity that it becomes cinematic in its ten track narrative.
The record begins with Ladder's instantly recognisable deep velvet baritone on track Astronaut. "All day I think about, what I'm going to do when I get out. Who am I going to be, when I get free?" This is the precursor to the journey within the album, a discussion of self identity with purpose and understanding of the consequences. The lyrics suggest that the album was written during lockdown, rather, the album was written months earlier – born out of bushfires, break downs and a long term hospital stay – as poetically described by Ladder.
Tracks Leaving Eden and Xmas In Rehab guide us further into the introspective and complex world of Hijack!. Leaving Eden’s mechanical yet human drive and Biblical allusions are wonderfully underpinned by Sam Lipman’s string arrangements. Yet, part of Ladder’s allure is his ability to remain composed throughout the lyrical sincerity. In contrast, Xmas in Rehab is a droll sketch of a rehabilitation ward, with Ladder as the sardonic observer.
Despite the deeply personal lyrical content demonstrated on Hijack!, listeners will find solace in the album and its poignant simplicity, reflective of Ladder's writing style:
"When I write a song I’m not thinking about myself necessarily… maybe that’s the self-preservation thing. Even though I'm going through something, I will imagine someone else going through that thing and I will write about it for them and then that is somehow healing for me."
Hijack! was co-produced by Ladder and long-term collaborator and band mate Laurence Pike (PVT, Liars), and sees the return of other Dreamlanders, Donny Benét and Kirin J Callinan, as well as celestial string arrangements by Sam Lipman.
"What really gets me about these new songs is how personal they feel. We're getting right down to the core here. But at the same time, there's an otherworldly atmosphere that puts these songs into a different orbit." KCRW
"The gothic baroque of Hijack! may be his most singular work yet” Rolling Stone
"Tim Rogers, Jack Ladder, whatever you call him, is a true creative, and it’s easy to find yourself immersed in the thoughtful and thrilling soundscapes he and The Dreamlanders conjure." Trouble Juice
"manically beautiful" RUSSH
"majestic strings drape down from all corners... floating up and up into the infinite space of the universe as Ladder’s rich baritone remains anchored to the Earth." The Guardian
"Jack Ladder has carved out a unique space for himself, and his band of Dreamlanders as an artist whose art is as much a sonic-cinema, as it is music." Happy
"Stately" Double J