Xavier Rudd is back with his seventh album Spirit Bird, and its very much business as usual. Seven albums in, you’d forgive Rudd for maybe just recreating songs in the same vein as past successes, but there’s plenty of evidence throughout the record, that Rudd is still pushing himself to create music that is both of a high quality, and fresh both lyrically and musically. That being said all Rudd’s hallmarks are there and clear to see, from that distinctive guitar sound, to his ubiquitous didgeridoo.
Spirit Bird is a versatile creation, shifting easily between the upbeat bluesy numbers, that are swept up in a storm of didgeridoo and stomp box, and the softer more plaintive folk tunes spun out to acoustic accompaniment. Other than Rudd’s many and varied instruments, the album features samples of bird song, as well as a children’s choir and indigenous backing vocals. The instrumentation is certainly varied, but always fits the songs mood, and never serves as a distraction.
Rudd’s music has always had an underlying message, and Spirit Bird is no different. Like his other work, this message is dealt with in quite a subtle way, and at no point does it feel like Rudd is trying to force his morals or ethics onto you the listener. More gently reminding his listener where he himself stands on a multitude of issues, not least those affecting the health of the world.
The record is definitely up there with the rest of Rudd’s back catalogue. It shows an artist who is still willing to push himself musically, as well as an artist who is not afraid to address important and divisive topics in song. Seven albums in and Rudd is as strong as ever, and making music that is highly relevant.
Review Score: 8.7 out of 10.