Launching their new album “Hurtsville”, Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders played an impressive set at the East Brunswick club to a very respectful crowd.

Playing the album in full, Ladder and his band, The Dreamlanders, beautifully recreated the haunting and impressive soundscapes of the album. It was a wonderful sight to watch the entire band lost in the music that they were playing live.

Highlights included an electrifying version of the first single off the album, ‘Cold Feet’, the haunting ‘Short Memory’, which sounds like it belongs in a David Lynch film, and ‘Blinded By Love’, a track where the comparisons that have been made between Ladder’s rich baritone voice and that of Nick Cave are definitely at their clearest. The track reminded this scribe in a good way of ‘The Carny’, off the Bad Seeds album Your Funeral, My Trial.

Ladder and his band definitely wear their influences on their sleeves. However, witnessing tonight’s performance, they are very much on the way to transcending those and finding their own sense of identity on a musical front.

Ladder was ably assisted by his backing band, The Dreamlanders, especially the very talented Kirin Callinan on guitar, creating some astounding soundscapes via a barrage of effects pedals. For a band with only three musicians and a singer, they have a very big sound on a live front.

The only mild disappointment of the night was Ladder’s between song banter. He seems more at ease on stage performing than talking to a crowd. He came off as quite stilted and nervous when chatting. However, this completely disappeared once he was singing. He has described himself as more of a songwriter than a singer. This was evident during these moments.

This was a good performance that hinted at a major talent about to emerge over the next few years.

–        Neil Evans