|Dimensions||22 × 16 × .50 cm|
WALKING THIS LAND
Noel Gardner (Corrugated Music)
CD review by Andrew McBride
Noel Gardner’s independent album release “Walking This Land” is insightful, thought provoking and politically relevant to issues that all Australians can strive to understand. Noel’s lyrics and music appear soaked in the natural elements and landscape of Australia, inspired by the history and ability to instigate positive change. He covers such topics as aboriginal rights and the stolen generation, the futility of war, the plight of refugees, the essence of nature and what it means to be Australian. There is even a hidden track “Autumn In Maleny“ about the struggle close to home to stop a Woolworths’ development happening. But it’s musical expression that really drives the theme and lyrical content of each track. The inspirational “Refugee” comes across as an alternative version of that catchy hook and pinnacle of nationalist influence “I am Australian”. Even before a word is sung, a Middle Eastern flavour bursts forth, setting the subject matter and imagery of foreign detainees. Speaking in the first person, Noel sings; “As I sit in the camp in the desert, curled wire defines all my dreams”. Atmospheric and skilfully produced – all the musicians on this CD click together and play there own part in the overall sound. A perfect example is “In the Forest”. With the graceful flute playing of Sundari Krishna and a rhythm section driven by the bass of Mcoy Harvey and the drumming of Nik Meyer-Miller. “Humpback Whale” is another track with an evocative harmony vocal and guitar motif, this time reminiscent of an adventurous seafaring journey. His lyrics reach out and grapple with the heartstrings but for Noel, it almost appears unintentional. This is because he gives the impression of speaking “matter of factly” through the description of landscapes, colours and looks in people’s eyes. Elements of Celtic Folk weave through tracks such as “Sunset Symphony” and ”Happy Song”, but overall the CD emerges unquestionable in its Australian identity. Noel’s self-awareness humour and positive approach brightly shines through on “Happy Song” which is an interesting departure from the heavier lyrical content throughout the album. However, in its own way, it becomes perhaps the most politically motivated of all tracks, achieved by telling the listener what he “isn’t” going to sing about. Every track on this album covers new territory – whether through lyrical content or musical influence. Herein lies the strength of this CD. On first listen, it’s evident the lyrics of “Stolen Children” which won the Lyrics Category at the 2005 Australian National Songwriters Association contest were no flash in the pan. Noel could easily have won a lyrical award for several other tracks – particularly “Reflections Of War “and “Refugee”. As a far reaching music fan and strong advocate for political transparency, I was thrilled to discover that “Walking This Land” is one of the most informed and honest assessments of Australian identity I have come across.
10 in stock (can be backordered)