Words: James Frostick

Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders return with a new album announcement and a shiny new single to accompany. ‘White Flag’ is an ode to surrendering to love and giving over one’s self wholeheartedly to the cause, despite its imprisoning nature and toll on both mind and soul.

If you ask Jack Ladder what love is, he’d probably tell you it’s a prison. A comfortable imprisonment in part, to be sure – but still an inescapable asylum.

That’s what he is saying in his new single ‘White Flag’. Jack talks about love as surrender – a conscious act of giving in and accepting the lengthy sentence handed down by the powers that be. Love is a surrendering of independence and reason, a conscious linking of one’s mind and soul to that of another and a commitment to that inextricable existence despite one’s own rational thinking.

Utilising his signature molasses-like croon, Jack reflects on the love he’s been trying and failing to outrun. Every time he breaks away he’s ensnared again like a rogue convict and sentenced to a period of imprisonment without end. Like an inmate behind bars for life, Jack finds himself growing comfortably numb to his unwilling imprisonment – coming to terms with his lot and even fans the embers of affection he once tried to extinguish. Everything he once owned and once was has been taken, so he has no choice but to give himself over.

If you ask Jack Ladder what love is, he’d probably tell you it’s like Stockholm Syndrome.

When you took me from my home, how I struggled to be free, now out here on our own, I found in you most everything I need.”

Although the song starts from the point of view of the captive, ‘White Flag’ seems to have been written from both perspectives – one seeing no escape and one unwilling to let go. It’s another beautiful dissection of the tumultuous nature of affection, independence, reliance, sacrifice, greed and beauty of the whole ordeal. Equal parts alluring and terrifying.

The accompanying clip for ‘White Flag’ furthers the theme of imprisonment and surrender – depicting Jack tied to a chair on the beach as the tide gradually comes in. Even though he manages to break free of his shackles before song’s end, Jack ends up walking into the sea anyway – hastening his submergence in the encroaching swell. There’s no point delaying the inevitable, I guess. I don’t know if I need to go deep on the analysis of visual allegories here, but it’s plain to see Jack ain’t running anymore, even if he is free of his bonds.

If you ask Jack Ladder what love is, he’d probably tell you that it’s complicated. And he’s right. Like always.

Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders will be releasing their new album Blue Poles on May 4 through Barely Dressed Records in Australia and New Zealand, Terrible Records in North America and Self Portrait further abroad. Pre-order it here.