Album Review: Xavier Rudd - Spirit Bird

4 June 2012 | 7:55 pm | Lynn McDonnell

Instead of just utopian romanticism, this work is a solid commentary from Rudd about how the world should be, without ruthless acts of disrespect between races.

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This seventh album by Xavier Rudd, Spirit Bird, embraces many elements of his musical ability but also introduces a unique and quirky side of the solo artist, as he complements immaculate percussion with recordings of birdsong. This album is an influential one that displays obvious emotional and spiritual connections to the earth upon which we live, or to be more precise the plight of traditional landowners in Australia and North America. Rudd's stunning vocal timbre further adds to the harrowing context that encircles this album.

Spirit Bird unfolds with a stunning instrumental opener, Lioness Eye. This track emphasises the beauty of nature and its innate power as the listener is awakened by 15 seconds of kookaburras and magpies singing. The album's power continues as the poignant Comfortable In My Skin delivers Rudd's famous vocals and the reggae rhythms with which he has become renowned. In case the listener wasn't already aware of the messages being delivered so far, Prosper begins with a quote from an unyielding religious preacher about oppression and continues with earnest lyrics that reflect the consumption of sacred lands for capital gain.

The themes of this album are not subtle and most elements, from the lyrics to the vivid construction of the percussion, portray an empowerment of the Aboriginal people of Australia and North America, especially in the title track, Spirit Bird. Instead of just utopian romanticism, this work is a solid commentary from Rudd about how the world should be, without ruthless acts of disrespect between races. The record displays a strong, informed opinion that is backed up by his distinctive signature music, and certainly creates anticipation in the listener for the live tour in August.