When Peter Pan first meets Wendy he is chasing his shadow, he ends up chasing it to Wendy’s home, wakes her and she helps him sew it back on.
Passenger is UK singer/songwriter Mike Rosenburg who travelled across our vast continent creating the album ‘Flight of the Crow,’ a name that resonates his numerous collaborations with Australian acts to create his new shadow. Each act adds a new stitch to help him sew back on his shadow that he chased down under. Yet the question of whether or not he met his Wendy is unclear, as the continuous motif of heartache and self-discovery flow throughout the album. The sound that’s resulted is a very grass-roots, folky and acoustic one that Rosenburg was able to fund by busking on the Sydney streets.
The album is one of re-evaluating the path taken, or not taken, and the relationships that have brought you where you are now. It encourages you to stare at the raindrops on your window and get lost in your thoughts, and the first song, ‘Month of Sundays,’ kicks off this elated feeling of solitude. The collaboration here with indie-stars, Elana Stone and Brian Campeau, inspires you to indulge in those moments of re-connecting with one’s self, as it doesn’t happen nearly enough in the quick pace of everyday life.
The next track, ‘What You’re Thinking’ with Josh Pyke, takes you outside onto the wet grass to stare at the moving clouds, think about thinking, and in the end not think about anything. The sun sets and you’re now staring at the stars, ignoring those with the iPhone apps that tell them what constellation they’re staring at, because it’s that much more fantastic to make up your own, especially the ‘Shape of Love’. This next song with Boy and Bear uses such harmonies that fool you into believing that things at once made sense, because it takes you through the veins and patterns of evenings where the ‘shape of love’ was simple to identify.
This romantic design in the album continues with the spine-chilling vocals of Kate Miller Heidke in ‘The One You Love.’ A song for lovers that find air in each other’s gaze, the gaze that alienates and rips them out from society, and fills them with the temporary phenomenon that that is all they need. The sensation of having, or of having had, that significant other is indispensible for the function of getting lost in such dreamy memories. And the ballad of ‘Golden Thread’ waters this tranquil nostalgia like a potted flower, as it reminds us of the precious nature of such memories and thoughts. It is song that emulates that it is better to have loved and lost, because without it you couldn’t entirely appreciate such melodies, and you couldn’t have that comforting smirk of recollection whilst getting lost in your mind. And quite significantly the next song is ‘Rivers.’
I was once told that if there’s no water in the river then there’s no flow. This was said in reference to relationships that we have in our life. ‘Rivers,’ with Lior, is a somewhat reminder that if there’s no water in the relationship, then there’s no flow, and the water cannot be forced in. Interestingly enough the next track, ‘Travelling Song,’ is for the pilgrim soul in everyone, as we trot around the globe to find whatever it is we’re chasing, wether a new river with water or our Wendy. Then as we chase, there’s ‘The Girl Running,’ with Jess Chalker, which has a very David Gray feel to it, as it continues the motif of self-discovery and chasing one’s shadow.
‘Diamonds’ with Berkfinger (Philly Jays) is a bluesy, and coquettish vacation song of going with the flow and has a much more breezy feel to it than most of the other contemplative songs throughout the album. But ‘Bloodstains’ returns to the feeling of breaking away from those relationships which have no water and asks you to re-possess yourself, even though ironically the song itself grips you into its melody. The soothing, slow, guitar chords introduce Rosenburg’s deep vocals that inevitably entice you, and you’re further charmed by Katie Noonan’s vocals that speak of relationships that are clearly incongruous, and the startling imagery of ‘bloodstains in the snow’ accentuates this factor.
Finally, ‘Flight of the Crow’ which features numerous artists is a most fantastic end to an album that wrenches you into an emotional purification of contemplation. The final song acts as a catharsis, as it uses a number of vocals and instruments, including the serene combination of guitar with violin, to remind you that chasing your shadow can lead you to Wendy, but don’t get stuck in a river with no water, just ‘close my eyes’ and go with the flow.
Highlights :: 'Flight of the Crow,’ ‘Shape of Love’ and ‘Rivers’