Release Date: Feb 5, 2008
Record label: Arts & Crafts
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
None of this album would be out of place on classic rock radio, which sounds like a dis but isn’t. It’s by no means self-consciously retro – well, no more than any countryfied pop rock. And while it’s never difficult, like his work with the Broken Social Scene, it’s still brimming with inspiration and unorthodox combinations of musical ideas.
Jason Collett took a break from Broken Social Scene in 2005, choosing instead to focus on the promotion of Idols of Exile alongside his backing band, Paso Mino. Here's to Being Here arrives three years later, featuring a slimmed-down lineup (only Paso Mino and a small handful of guests lend their help) and an emphasis on dusty, '70s AM radio songcraft. Bob Dylan's raspy vocals and slow enunciations are an obvious influence here, but Collett's willingness to mix straightforward Americana with genre-bending experiments is more akin to a pre-Subtitulo Josh Rouse.
Like the Wu-Tang Clan before it, Broken Social Scene has become the musical collective whose beauty launched a dozen solo careers.Jason Collett has chipped in contributions to Broken Social Scene on each of its past two releases, and unfortunately, that association will probably continue to overshadow his solo output. It’s a shame, because Collett offers a playful and laidback approach on Here’s to Being Here that makes that other group of his seem sadly overblown by comparison.Collett practically dares critics to call his lyrics “Dylanesque” one more time on album opener “Roll on Oblivion.” Yes, he namedrops Napoleon Bonaparte a couple of times. No, Dylan does not have a trademark on this.
Toronto's Jason Collett has evolved into a master songwriter since his days in Broken Social Scene. Following in the footsteps of Petty, Springsteen, and even Dylan, Collett offers a potent dose of a distinctly North American craft. His third solo effort tones down the all-inclusive blast of his last, Idols of Exile, and in effect has taken a cultural snapshot of classic AOR.