Ned Collette’s lyrics are as purposeful as parable but they don’t yield their meaning easily. When the code is cracked, though, revelation comes avalanching.
Collette moved from Melbourne to Berlin in 2010. Yet his crisp Spanish guitar summons southern climes, glazing the album with a stippled, sun-bleached patina. Instrumental track ‘For Roberto’, particularly, aches with visions of Andalusia, evoking the final bullfight of a greying matador, all faded memories of gorings and glory. At times soothing and classical, at times gypsy or flamenco and at times verging on the needle-sharp noodling of a prog solo, Collette’s virtuosity with a nylon-string guitar is evident but never showy. On the single ‘Long You Lie’ his voice, usually dry and grounded, takes flight and soars, bringing both David Byrne and David Bowie to mind.
Only ‘Il Futuro Fantastico’ seems influenced by Berlin’s urbanity. Here, Collette mines the zone where neurosis topples into psychosis with lyrics documenting the internal pep talk of a protagonist wracked by indecision that only T.S Eliot’s anti-hero J. Alfred Prufrock could rival.
“Careful on the stones of your new direction found / The sympathy of lovers isn’t always real, isn’t always sound”, Collette intones, sternly, on ‘How to Change a City’. Like Leonard Cohen, his lyrics resonate like ages-old pronouncements on the nature of things. Life makes sense on a larger scale until the song ends and the meaning is lost again. This cycle of revelation and forgetting makes 2 infinitely ‘returnable’.