After two years of constant touring and a spiritual moment in the Kimberly, Xavier Rudd returns with Spirit Bird – an impressively strong album.

Rudd’s sixth studio album combines over a dozen instruments, including the yidaki (didgeridoo), harmonica and stomp box and the hauntingly beautiful sounds of native birds and vocals of local indigenous tribes.

“Lioness Eye”, the powerful opening track begins with the distinctive call of kookaburras before leading into intense percussion and beats courtesy of the yidaki. This intensity is a strong element throughout Spirit Bird, particularly in tracks such as “Bow Down” and “3 Roads”; yet sweeter songs, such as “Follow The Sun”(Rudd’s highest selling single to date) are not to be forgotten.

Rudd’s strong vocals and diction, as well as his ability to sing in Indigenous dialects is perfect, however minimalist in many songs. The ethereal use of native birds and tribal chanting is met by the social and historical content of his lyrics on songs such as the title track “Spirit Bird”, which was influenced by Rudd’s spiritual encounter with a red-tailed black cockatoo in the Kimberly and causes the hair on the back of your neck to stand up regardless of how many times you’ve heard it.

The consistency of standard of the tracks on Spirit Bird is outstanding, with each track equally as strong as the last. There is an ambience about Rudd’s sixth album, which sounds as though it was recorded in the Australian bushland and Rudd’s status as one of Australia’s most talented artists has been reinforced.

– Eva Dent

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