Those of you still mourning the tragic loss of Elliott Smith back in 2003 take note. And if you’re someone who’s held a permanent vigil for pre-‘Kid A‘ Radiohead, you may want to gently push open your bedroom door. Worry not, little one, it’s safe to come outside now. Do not fear The Migrant, for he is your saviour, not your enemy.
Indeed, should you have walked in towards the end of proceedings, you’d probably be waging a solid bet that what you were listening to was the latest Thom Yorke album, the likes of ‘Tiger‘ and ‘Row Row‘ conjuring up the same kind of magical allure best associated with the latter band’s most feted nineties masterpieces.
One of the key finds of the decade thus far, this is Danish songwriter Bjarke Bendtsen’s third full length album, and continues to build up a hefty momentum after support slots with press darlings Kurt Vile and Villagers in recent times. There’s no reason to believe The Migrant can’t follow in his contemporaries’ footsteps, perhaps even leaving them flailing in his wake en route to commercial utopia. He’s certainly leaving one heck of an imprint.
It is the very beginning of ‘Flood‘ that most provokes memories of tragic Nebraskan Smith, ‘Climbers‘ inhabiting that space of easy, slightly off-kilter fingerpicked guitar for which the late songwriter was most renowned.
A thumping backbeat sets it apart though, before the rousingly glorious ‘The Fixer‘ comes at you like a more radio friendly track from an early Flaming Lips album.
The modern blues rock of both the thrilling ‘Belly Of A Man‘ and the moody nuance of ‘Haunted‘ are clearly indebted to the forward thinking commercialism of The Black Keys, while ‘Water‘ gradually builds to an electrifying crescendo of fuzzy, squalling guitars as Bendtsen’s jazzy delivery is spookily reminiscent of Jeff Buckley. It’s a real highpoint, and certainly the most exciting number you’ll hear during the festive period.
I could go on. I had some dubious rhyming couplets to use in this review – stalks of Yorke, whiffs of Smith and flecks of Beck, and there is also a whole clutch of equally great tunes that I haven’t even scratched the surface of yet, but quite frankly, all you need to know is that ‘Flood’ is simply a devastatingly brilliant piece of work.