Review Archive

‘Dear Bastards’ from Ethan Collister - a powerful album that pulls no punches

(August 13, 2014)

Nothing like returning to the UK and running straight into Dear Bastards’ the new album from Canadian singer-songwriter Ethan Collister, due for release in October. His follow up to Inner Alchemy, this is an album that delivers messages as tough as they come. Built on a minimalist Dear-Bastards-from Ethan Collisterstyle with enough instrumentation but never too much, this album reflects three years working with young people challenged by mental health and addiction issues. The experience gave Collister the impetus to write songs that articulate the feelings of those who have no ‘voice’. A powerful album that pulls no punches.

Collister's mournful, meaning-filled vocals and guitar work echo around the themes and bring them totally alive. Along with Calgary music scene veterans Spider Bishop (upright bass) and Aleksandra Danicic (violin), he has not only given voice to those without the chance to ‘make their point’ he has created an album that tears deep at your heart. One listen to the profoundly moving ‘Madman’, the central sincerity of ‘Signs’ or the unanswered questions of ‘What Kind of a Machine’ will take you closer to the world that Collister encountered. Should you resist this far, then ‘Invisible’ tells a tale that actually hurts and makes a mark you cannot ignore.

With ‘Dear Bastards’ Ethan Collister has forged an album that asks questions, reflects settings, considers consequences and fundamentally lays it on the line. Through ten tough songs that strike with the force of metal on anvil the points are made. Perhaps we may better understand.

Reviewer: Tom Franks

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