You need to listen to Jen Cloher’s ‘Regional Echo’ before the end of the decade

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You need to listen to Jen Cloher’s ‘Regional Echo’ before the end of the decade

Jen Cloher
Words by Kate Streader

Okay, so Jen Cloher is hardly a no-name, but considering the depth of her talent, her work is criminally underappreciated.

In 2017, she released a self-titled record so personal, you almost felt guilty for listening; as if you’d accidentally found yourself privy to a secret world to which you hadn’t been invited.

Reflecting on identity through the scopes of her intermittently long-distance relationship, growing up as a queer woman and trying to carve a space within a male-dominated industry, Jen Cloher is intimate and unflinchingly candid.

On ‘Regional Echo’, Cloher casts her gaze back to growing up in remote corners of Adelaide. It’s far from wide-eyed nostalgia though, instead spouting sentiments like: “Seaside holiday houses/Lay quiet as a grave/Tombs of dreams past/Wealth gone to waste/The Australian dream is fading/Stolen anyway.”

Cloher toes the line between cynicism and realism artfully. A poet to her core, she even manages to make the lyric “Prawns in wheelie bins marinate/A cocktail of stink” sound strangely romantic. But she’s not looking to put a shiny filter over the world or make it something it’s not. Rather, she creates beauty with her words, her perception.

‘Regional Echo’ holds some kind of indefinable magic. Perhaps it’s the gut-melting chord change or her hushed purr, but even though I am the kind of romantic who loses their head to every setting sun, this track knocks me out every time.