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Review: Xavier Rudd's 'Storm Boy' inspired by childhood film

This cover image released by Nettwerk Records shows "Storm Boy," by Xavier Rudd. (Nettwerk Records via AP)

This cover image released by Nettwerk Records shows "Storm Boy," by Xavier Rudd. (Nettwerk Records via AP)

Xavier Rudd, "Storm Boy" (Nettwerk Records)

The title track of Xavier Rudd's latest album was inspired by a pelican he saw while sitting by a river sipping tea. The water bird reminded him of Mr. Percival, a winged and feathered co-star of "Storm Boy," a 1976 film about a young boy's adventures in an isolated region of Australia, including his friendship with an Aboriginal man and the learning of some of life's unavoidable lessons.

Rudd's "Storm Boy" is not a soundtrack to the eponymous film but, except for some deeply personal and romantic songs, its themes seem to match — the environment, self-knowledge and self-belief, materialism, links between history and now, reconciliation, the joys of living and the twists of fate.

Musically, Rudd fits effortlessly into the contemporary singer-songwriter vernacular — some acoustic sounds, some strings, some reggae beats, plenty of soaring choruses. And a didgeridoo and ample earnestness. At his best, he sounds a little like Tim Finn.

Opener "Walk Away" has a prime example of the soaring chorus, while "Fly Me High" is about being in Peru, a vision of his future wife and a butterfly sitting on his feet while in the Amazon rainforest. "Best That I Can" mentions Mother Teresa and current affairs and "Times Like These" waxes philosophical: "I believe we can breathe in the magic of our Earth/And I believe we can exhale anything we feel we didn't deserve."

Rudd has the ability to integrate each of the songs into a single flow, like a river winding through varied landscapes. The journey on "Storm Boy" has plenty of captivating tunes and if sometimes it feels a tad long as the 13 songs stream by, Rudd's personality and musicianship make for amiable travelling companions.


Updated : 2021-10-22 19:04 GMT+08:00