Album of the year lists are both a blessing and curse. As a way to demonstrate your discerning taste there are few better ways to impress your friends.
On the other hand, there are fewer more effective ways for your friends to demonstrate how much greater their taste is than yours, and how mundane and parochial are your tastes by sharing their own end-of-year lists.
One name that featured prominently amongst the albums of 2017 was Jen Cloher, an Australian singer songwriter who released an excellent self titled album.
Cloher is in the U.K. right now to promote the album, playing the Tufnell Park Dome, and at a pancake-filled lunchtime, playing a short set for Rough Trade East.
What strikes the listener at first is the how much heavier the songs sound live than on album. Backed by Jen Sholakis on (excellent) drums, and the (excellently named) Bones Sloane on bass plus Courtney Barnett on guitar, this is a magnificent sounding band.
Songs from the most recent album feature prominently. “Forgot Myself” is a song about how Cloher felt as she viewed the growing success of her partner, while “Analysis Paralysis” and it’s questioning of the government’s stance on equal marriage also stands out.
“Fear is Like a Forest” is “an excellent song” Cloher wrote which appeared on Barnett’s album with Kurt Vile. We now get to hear “the original” says Cloher, with tongue slightly in cheek.
Cloher is spiky, imperious, yet likeable and in her lyrical content is fearless. The self-titled album deserved all the plaudits it received, and is well worth your attention.
Here’s “Forgot Myself”….