We all like to be romanced and seduced and that is exactly what The Migrant does with new album Flood. It is a warm melodic smile with melancholy at its corners; a collection of songs which wander through vibrant folk and pop rock landscapes with psychedelia aired exploration and magnetic intimacy. The album is gorgeous, a fascination which becomes even more irresistible with every gaze upon its aural beauty.
Hailing from Denmark, The Migrant is the creation of Copenhagen songwriter Bjarke Bendtsen, a project hugging a fine group of musicians when seducing live audiences around the globe. Critically acclaimed albums in 2011’s Amerika and Beads two years later have caught international attention already, both building on the potent start made by debut album Travels in Lowland in 2010. Recorded in a Danish summer cottage with the musicians that accompany Bendtsen on European stages, Flood simply envelops the listener in evocative and invigorating portraits of sound and vocal expression. Released earlier in 2015 in Denmark and Germany via DevilDuck Records, the album swiftly ignited the plaudits of media and fans alike and with its UK release at the tail end of last year through Cardiff imprint Rockpie, it is now finding matching success here too.
First track Climbers sets the tone and first inescapable lure, a reserved but energetic shuffle of a proposal which skips and flirts across ears with its flighty rhythms, acoustic caresses, and vocal temptation. In no time feet are bouncing and emotions dancing with the blend of poetic melodies, reflective vocals, and a dose of Sicilian laced guitar enterprise. The song is pure contagion, a gentle but bold enslavement quickly matched by the similarly tenacious charm and revelry of The Fixer. Harmonies play like the call of a steam train initially before Bendtsen serenades the imagination from within another acoustic hug. With a touch of Billy Momo to it, the track has body and energies leaping with ease and an already sparked appetite for the release greedier.
The album’s title track slips in next, Flood providing a low key magnetic croon with drama waiting and building in its wings as flirtatious rhythms and a suggestive atmosphere infuse its walls. Things never reach the level of exploding but persistently shadow and add endearing shade to the mesmeric call of the song before it makes way for the outstanding Belly of a Man. Straight away it has a more boisterous air and energy to its temptation, rocking and rolling with certain restraint whilst wearing a broad harmonic grin coloured with seventies psychedelic hues. Before you know it, voice and heart are wrapped up in its rapture, eager involvement a given before half way and only increasing as its seriously catchy momentum builds to a thrilling climax.
Recent single Silence follows, it one of those songs you feel you already know without reason. With sultry sways of guitar and the ever radiant vocals and harmonies around throbbing rhythms, the track runs persuasive fingers down the spine to seduce and thrill. A shoegaze scent only adds to the sonic splendour and thick success made, the variety of creative flavouring again open within Flood and individually showing within Water as fizzy blues spices are filtered by guitars into enticing melodies across an exuberant character.
From its feisty adventure a calmer climate appears next with Give Up, the song an evocative charm of sound and provocative voice with a touch of Paul McCartney and Andy Partridge to it in songwriting and rural suggestiveness. As many tracks, within its oasis of tranquillity an eager energy brews and subsequently drives an increasingly catchy stroll.
The delicious smouldering swing of Haunted Takes over next, the song a majestic slow stepping intoxication with melancholic radiance carrying more drama and impact in its first minute than many albums can find in their whole body. The track really does haunt ears and thoughts, becoming a wonderfully lingering contemplation still working away long past taking its leave.
The duo of Tiger and Row Row bring the sublime release to a close, the first a balmy and again reserved proposition which prowls ears in its unique way whilst building up to almost overpowering and exhilarating crescendos with more than a whiff of Liverpool artists like Pete Wylie and Echo and The Bunnymen to them. Its successor simply kisses ears with slim acoustic elegance leading to psych pop sultriness, and though it arguably remains overshadowed by its stirring predecessor, the song has ears transfixed and pleasure ripe to end Flood with another fine moment to heartily devour.
Flood is simply sensational, in its subtle way as Homeric and monumental as it is intimately spellbinding, and one of last year’s real triumphs.
Flood is out now in the UK via Rockpie and available @ https://themigrant.bandcamp.com/album/flood
Pete RingMaster 08/01/2016
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