Jason Collett - Idols Of Exile

This is a good album. Unfortunately for Jason Collett, it is not a brilliant album, and with the accessibility of music today, this will probably get lost in the mix. However, if you enjoy easy listening style music in the vein of a mix of indie-pop and alt-country, this may be for you.


Although this is credited to Jason Collett, I feel he should direct more attention to his collaborators, because every track has a lengthy list of contributors, with instruments including piano, guitar, bass, drums, trombone, glockenspiel, synth, harmonica, banjo, organ and various others.


All of the songs are well written and the use of the above instruments makes for some interesting sounds, so you know this is organised by an experienced musician. Jason Collett is a pillar of the Toronto indie scene, and wrote a lot of solo material before joining the influential Broken Social Scene. A few of these members play on the record, as well as other locally well-known Toronto musicians, and the result has been described as a "house party". I would have to at least partly agree; some songs are rollicking, while others are more dreamy, some even somber.


As far as songwriting goes, this album serves as a refreshing change from the radio. Substance comes from Collett's suburban upbringing, with topics including life choices, death and underage drinking. Thankfully though, it steers clear of too much sentimentality or angst, with more than enough upbeat numbers to keep the mood mostly happy.


The whole vibe is fairly mellow, and this occasionally wanders into the predictable realm, but you probably won't mind because there is a sense of comfort in this structure. Of all the tracks, "Pavement Puddle Stars" is probably the best example of this. ""Almost Summer" is a rather amusing story of the shame of what we do when we just start drinking alcohol (your head is swimming/ with the anticipaton, then suddenly/ you're puking out the door/ with your pants around your knees/ but he's a nice boy, so he drops you on your street), while "Brownie Hawkeye" is probably my favourite. It features a cool horn section, and has a super catchy rhythm that just sucks you right in.


The entire album features great vocals by Collett, who seems to have mastered the alt-country voice. The packaging is also on high quality, with great earthy artwork.


To sum it all up, this is an album you can listen to on the car stereo on road trips with your folks, because you will enjoy it, and your folks will enjoy it more than At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul reissue.

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