Album Review: Xavier Rudd - Spirit Bird

30 May 2012 | 5:15 pm | Lucia Osborne Crowley

The album’s complex combination of power and subtlety make it hugely satisfying.

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Xavier Rudd's new record, Spirit Bird, has all the unique charm the singer is known for, but also manages a steady confidence that makes it particularly impressive. While the album has its weaker moments, its highlights are incredibly powerful and certainly overshadow its shortcomings.

The album opens instrumentally with Lioness Eye, in which Xavier's classic fast-paced didgeridoo sound is coupled with a strong, steady rhythm that confidently sets the tone of the record. One of the record's standouts reveals itself immediately afterwards with Comfortable In My Skin, which opens with an intoxicating harmonica melody, beginning smoothly and slowly before speeding up with the introduction of a strong rhythm and syncopated guitar line. Title track Spirit Bird again showcases Xavier's vocal talents, with soft, dark lyricism and vocal tones that are almost harrowing in their emotionality. The perfect combination of powerful and smooth vocals, unusual guitar melodies and a strong harmonica tune returns in another of the record's highlights, Follow The Sun, which is sustained and impassioned in equal measure.

Conversely, Culture Bleeding marks one of the record's distinctly weaker moments. With somewhat unsatisfying vocals and confused instrumental lines, the song is far less captivating than the foregoing tracks. The singer's vocal prowess returns, however, with Paper Thin. This song boasts the most sophisticated lyricism on the album as well as some of the more impressive melodies, making it another of the record's standout songs. The album closes with Creating A Dream, which showcases the singer's vocal range more comprehensively than other tracks but does feel a little more instrumentally confused than some of the more confident songs on the record. All things considered, the album's complex combination of power and subtlety make it hugely satisfying.