Jason Collett

Jason Collett redefines the traditional notion of the dewy-eyed, shoegazing folk-rock troubadour. On this, his sophomore solo set, Collett — a professional carpenter when he's not gigging with the Toronto musical co-op known as Broken Social Scene — offers a dozen concise acoustic gems enhanced by burnished, back-porch arrangements ... songs that progress from stagger to swagger. Like others of his ilk, Collett has his issues, an underlying insurgency that suggests varying degrees of personal dysfunction. "There's a ghost of my cell phone that keeps ringing in my head," he mutters on "Pavement Puddle Stars." "Almost Summer" offers wistful visions of carefree days free from school and responsibility, and teenage indulgence centered around smoking dope and "puking out the door with your pants around your knees." "Hangover Days" suggests further excess, with Collett and BSS's Emily Haines trading tirades like an estranged Johnny and June Carter Cash ("Don't pull that shit on me!" she shouts, skewering his earnest appeals). Still, Collett is no melancholy pessimist; the giddy "I'll Bring the Sun" offers a gloriously effusive refrain that's pure ebullience, while the hushed, heartfelt devotional "We All Lose One Another" surges through a hypnotic chorus that imparts an indelible impression. Despite its homegrown feel, Idols of Exile is a rich, multitexture work that heralds the arrival of a new indie icon.

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Lee Zimmerman