A scruffy haired, gap toothed young man, in ripped jeans and a leather bomber, Jack Colwell doesn’t look out of place among the DIY bands of Sydney’s inner west. He certainly doesn’t look like someone who’s played at the Opera House not once but several times.
Growing up on the northern beaches, Colwell’s high school was the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Since his teens, he’s been working to reconcile his obvious pop sensibility with his classical background, starting out making folksy chamber pop as Jack Colwell and the Owls. On his forthcoming EP, Only When Flooded Could I Let Go – in the works for almost two years now – Colwell has come up with something much bolder and more himself.
‘Don’t Cry Those Tears’ is his latest single, and it’s a stunner – combining the drama of ‘Far From View’, the first taste of the EP, with the levity of last year’s gorgeous standalone single, ‘Seek the Wilde’. With painstaking arrangements that betray Colwell’s classical training, the track’s a dead ringer for a Phil Spector ‘wall of sound’ production.
Colwell’s also a versatile vocalist, going from breathy to thunderous without breaking a sweat. He even sounds wolfish at times, as he snaps and snarls. ‘Don’t Cry These Tears’ features his best performance yet – like Nick Cave animated by the spirits of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and Nina Simone.
The video, Colwell’s second outing with London duo Brian and Karl, is shot in seedy red and blue. Surrounded by sculpted men stripped for the sauna, Colwell goes through a series of emotional spasms in a performance worthy of his hero Kate Bush.
Only When Flooded Could I Let Go is out 28 August. Preorder now and you’ll get instant downloads of ‘Don’t Cry Those Tears’ and ‘Far From View’.