Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders is the solo recording project of Sydney, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and composer Tim Rogers, and with the release of his first four albums: 2005’s Not Worth Waiting For, 2008’s Love is Gone, 2011’s Hurtsville and 2014’s chart topping Playmates, Rogers have developed a reputation for being a singular presence in contemporary Australian music, as his material typically centers around tales of beauty, love, hope, redemption and the sincerity and absurdity of the human condition with a tone that can be frequently sentimental and mournful, sardonic and surreal. Along with that, Rogers has a rich, sonorous baritone that conveys a plaintive, masculine vulnerability and need — but with a slight bit of ironic detachment.
Rogers’ fifth Jack Ladder album Blue Poles officially dropped today, and from the album’s latest single, the 80s-inspired, minimalist synth pop track “Susan,” the song will further Rogers reputation in his homeland for crafting detailed, novelistic narratives, with fully fleshed out characters — but within dark, fucked up milieu; in the case, the Susan at the heart of the song, is literally haunted by the spectral (and perhaps physical) presence of her late lover Richard, who she longs for, and is desperate to join. Throughout there’s a sense of Susan trying to find answers to why her Richard and if she could go on without him, and naturally, the song leaves that as an open-ended question for the listener to figure out. Sonically and thematically, “Susan” reminds me quite of the work of JOVM mainstay Daughn Gibson, whose work pairs slick yet dusty electronic production with dark themes and lyrical concerns, as well as O Children, who work had a similar quality.
Directed by Leilnai Croucher, the recently released video for “Susan” is largely inspired by 1980s psychic hotline informercials, as it’s based upon her interpretation of the song, as someone trying to find answers and in the process “losing themselves in the desire to be someone else; to become something else. The video exists in a world where people are looking for answers through a television set”, Croucher continues. “They hear a voice supposedly calling to them from the other side. These infomercials are a truly fascinating reflection on our constant desire to find the answers. They are combination of over-the-top melodrama mixed with real people trying to better themselves.”