Jen Cloher - In Blood Memory

Jen Cloher - In Blood Memory

Jen Cloher’s third album outshines her first two records, departing from the folky identity of Dead Wood Falls (2006) and Hidden Hands (2009). Instead, Cloher displays an unexpected disposition towards punk, and a tasteful versatility that is becoming increasingly rare.

At times Cloher calls on Patti Smith. This is most prominent during the second track, ‘Name In Lights’, where authoritative changes in pace and spoken vocals interchange with her sweet singing.

It’s so nice to hear some feminine alt-rock that works naturally and stays true to its origins. Both ‘Kamikaze Origami’, with its gentle surfie riffs and soft vocals, and the country melody of ‘David Bowie Eyes’, would impress any Kim Deal fans.

The closing track ‘Hold My Hand’ is a diamond of a song, with a measured build up, from clean guitars and harmonies to the kind of emotional climax that Jeff Buckley is famous for. It’s a brilliant choice for an end to the album, as it leaves you hanging out for more and going straight to the ‘repeat’ button.

Cloher is just as down-to-earth and soulful on the electric guitar as she was on the acoustic, only with a harder edge. The album flows beautifully, making for an easy listen, and one that grows steadily on you.

I’d complain that with seven songs In Blood Memory wasn’t quite long enough. But, while it’s disappointing every times it draws to an end, there’s nothing worse than an album-filler, and every track deserves to be on this very special record.

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