Having taken us to a world of self discovery with the lead single, Astronaut, Jack Ladder returns with a double single release, Leaving Eden and Xmas in Rehab, songs incapsulating the polarities of the forthcoming album.
Ahead of the much anticipated new record, Hijack!, fans of the sardonic romantic are given insight to the record through this double single release. These two songs were chosen to showcase the differing voices on the album from sedative to cerebral.
Xmas in Rehab is a droll sketch of a rehabilitation ward, with Ladder as the observer. Ladder explains, “There is nothing more heartwarming than 50 recovering addicts gathered around the TV watching Nancy Meyers rom-coms. I wanted the music to reflect that. I kept the chords open and simple. There’s a meditative folk song drone about it. Like a Tom Petty tune on a mild sedative”. Unlike the soaring strings and isolated adventurer that lead the narrative in Astronaut, the protagonist in Xmas in Rehab is very much grounded in his own world and humanised by Ladder’s own personal experience.
Leaving Eden is the musical and theoretical counterpoint, The protagonist yearns for escape rather than seeking refuge in others. It is haunting and manically beautiful as it guides the listener through deep weeds and vines, soundtracked by an ominous repetitive bass. In response to Leaving Eden, Ladder said he “couldn’t reconcile the conflicting parts of [him]self that wanted to remain a recluse and the part that wanted to live in the world again, so [he] left.” The christian iconography runs through both songs but is perhaps more prevalent in Leaving Eden, with snakes, gardens and ‘delicious prisons of our own imaginations.’ Ladder continues to say “I think anyone that ever tried to take control of their life has come up against the need to kill the prison warden so that you can become your own master." It conjures the dissatisfaction and disillusion heard in Talking Head’s Once in a Lifetime but told through a velvet baritone laced with Ladder’s own personal despair.
Leaving Eden is accompanied by a stop frame animation by acclaimed artist Anna-Wili Highfield. Highly regarded for her sculptural forms the hand rendered animation builds layers of jungle growth to provide a space to listen to the song.
“I animated a jungle in stop motion. Perfect timing was a beautiful accident.”
Both songs deal with survival and change and herald a new era for Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders.
Xmas in Rehab and Leaving Eden are available to listen to here, on Spotify.