Jack Colwell: Swandream review – theatrical, raw songs packed with pain and soaring survival

The Patrick Wolf influence is unmistakeable – but while Colwell’s debut revels in drama and emotions, producer Sarah Blasko lends it a balancing restraint

A friend of mine instinctively reacts to dramatic pop songs – the type of thing with vocal and musical flourishes that feel theatrical; big swings in mood and presentation; emotions throbbing; male voices in lower registers; lyrical landscapes painted in almost lurid detail – with the denunciation that it’s trying too hard, that it is false, that it is, in the ultimate insult, pretentious.

Thus consigned to the bin the likes of Scott Walker and Nick Cave, Kate Bush and Cousteau, Rufus Wainwright and Anna Calvi. So without hesitation I can say she’d hear Sydney artist Jack Colwell’s debut album and label it pretentious. I’m also confident Colwell would say, yes, and? 

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