There’s a strong timeless quality that permeates Jed Rowe’s fourth album. Timeless in the sense that the songs aren’t tied to any particular style that can place it on the timeline of rock n roll – yet also in the way the songs are written, paced and arranged. They’re treated with a laid-back swaying sound where Cat Canteri’s drums lean back and Rowe and Justin Bernasconi’s guitars gently push and pull, with only occasional acceleration into more urgent soloing.
Above and beyond, Rowe’s voice casually and effortlessly rides the music like a long and rolling wave. His voice is suitably weathered, balanced between sweet and stern and able to carry and convey melancholy, nostalgia and heartfelt concerns with conviction and authenticity. ‘See No Evil’ will stick in your mind for days with its melodically barbed chorus.
The theme of time also extends to the subject matter on Foreign Country. There’s a rich coterie of Australian places (Bondi, Bennelong, Port Douglas, Coorong, Murray River) and characters that inhabit and travail their landscape. It’s a well-executed exploration of a bygone era, a songwriter’s eye cast backwards rather than just surveying ones immediate surrounds.
A Foreign Country is a fine collection of songs, rich in instrumental detail and built on a sound that gently screams excellence.