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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
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The Walkmen - Lisbon
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Fat Possum
Jason Collett
Here's to Being Here
Arts & Crafts

Rating: 7.7/10 ?

February 13, 2008
For all intents and purposes, Toronto musician Jason Collett, solo artist and Broken Social Scene member, is as homegrown as jazz poetry. At least that's how he makes it seem with his latest effort, Here's to Being Here. The album's title isn't an allusion to his Canadian roots or anyplace else where he may spend his time, but rather a musical position that's a crossroads between Bob Dylan (and sometimes his son) and '70s AM-radio. It's easy, it's pure, and it's all around good.

Take into consideration the fact that easy doesn't necessarily mean simple. With Being Here Collett proves he is a lyricist as well as a musician - singing in a Dylan lilt with optimism may be easily conceived, but it's not as easily achieved. When Collett sings "Roll on over you clouds of doom/ The silver lining is coming through/ Just say yes, just say yes, just say yes/ Quit giving up so soon/ Our love will win what war will lose" ("Through The Night These Days"), he refuses to fade into a paled imitation.

For the most part, Collett also uses the album as a chance to separate himself from his musical counterparts in the Broken Social Scene collective. With a horn section addition, the island beat-driven "Charlyn, Angel of Kensington" would fit into any of the Canadian indie supergroup's collaborations, but not before "Out of Time" opens up into a wistful BSS solo outing. But the focus here remains on the compositions themselves and their largely affirmative feel.

In alignment with the album's varied sounds, Being Here is not an entirely buoyant ride, however. "Roll On Oblivion" opens the album, ending with Collett repeating the lines "As thick as thieves/ My lover and I"; yet, that unity can only be contained later with the standout post-breakup "Not Over You." Here, Collett channels Ocean Colour Scene's Simon Fowler with a track that's neither bitter nor introspective--just honest.

Although not an album of the year candidate or (unfortunately) likely an even noteworthy nod, Collett nonetheless delivers a fine collection of songs. Here's to Being Here makes us recognize that an impressive stock of songwriters - or at least one - comprises a Canadian music scene that's known as much for its collaborations as it is for its collective individual output. Forget the boundaries that separate Collett from your favorite Heartland songwriter. He's, in his own words, "waiting for the world to come home."

Reviewed by Patrick Gill
In in a state of suspended adolescence, Patrick Gill can be found hiding away in northwest Ohio, where he spends most of his time rediscovering shoegaze, noise pop, britpop, slowcore, sadcore, lo-fi, neo-psychedelia, post-rock, trad rock, and trip-hop music. In his spare time he teaches college English.

See other reviews by Patrick Gill



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