Entitled 2, not just because this is the band’s sophomore release but because the record was crafted by just Collette and Joe Talia after bandmate Ben Bourke took a hiatus from the outfit.

The album’s futuristic folk sensibility sees Collette on Spanish guitar and Talia accompanying him with unsettling synths. 2 is a daring and beguiling record.

The band place the album’s most disconcerting song as the opener. ‘II Futuro Fantastico’ is a brooding and ominous track, but if you found this abrasive, it would be remiss of you to stop here. With such an appetite for experimentation, this album can only be truly appreciated after multiple spins. Although the more solemn tracks are initially the easiest to like. The dismay in both ‘The Hedonist’ and ‘The Decision’ is all too apparent, and some of the record’s most austere examples.

While Collette’s voice alone is hauntingly beautiful enough, when the album features backing vocals, it only enhances what the band is aiming for. Laura Jean and Biddy Connor offer helpful vocal support to make ‘How To Change A City’ an early album highlight.

‘For Roberto’, is the instrumental tribute to the late Chilean writer Roberto Bolano and surprisingly it sounds much less Spanish than you’d expect. In fact, it’s the heaviest synth outcome of the record.

Ned Collette & Wirewalker’s second effort will undoutedly slip under the radar, which is a shame though, because as much as 2 definitely isn’t for everyone – it is one of the most interesting Australian albums you’ll hear all year.

– Corey Tonkin

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