‘Come On Back This Way’ is the first taste of new material coming from Jack Ladder and The Dreamlanders. Previous LP, HURTSVILLE was an acclaimed slice of dramatic and poignant music. It was one of the best albums of 2011 and Jack’s next album, Playmates is off to a similarly good start thanks to this song.
The tune follows a straightforward formula; a simple drum beat, some soft electric guitar bubbling and a wavy and melodic synthesizer element. It’s not breaking down any barriers, but that is because it is leaving room for the dark croon of Jack Ladder himself, which is the focus of the song.
Detailing a moonlit chase of love not reciprocated, ‘Come On Back This Way’ is a relatable and heartbreakingly beautiful story about acceptance and love. Following through piss-soaked streets, wandering past other forlorn souls, Jack and his lover argue, neither side conceding their point.
The girl says he doesn’t love her, he says he does. Is it a game? Is it her way of creating distance? Why does she not want me back? Why doesn’t she think she is worth my affection? These are the questions indirectly asked by Jack Ladder, as he stubbornly refuses to face facts and go home alone.
Weathering constant rebuffs and refusals from the woman in question, Jack Ladder is having a hard time accepting that, damn, maybe this girl doesn’t love him. It’s a shitty situation and one that is communicated exceptionally well by Jack. For him it’s all or nothing, and his only course of action is persistence in the hope that it leads to acceptance.
As grim as it is, this song is stunning. The backing vocals from Sharon Van Etten add to the atmosphere tremendously. As much as my own love weary soul might not be able to handle more, I hope every song on Playmates is as affecting as this one.