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The Migrant
Travels In Lowland
(self-released)
www.themigrant.net


There are times when a critic looks at an artist who is unknown and just starting out, only to be impressed by how the artist doesn't sound like they're just starting out. Look at The Migrant, who has released his debut album, Travels In Lowland. An acoustic singer/songwriter from Denmark, Mr. Migrant is going all out with the idea of taking on a persona rather than using his own name. It's a solid album that only suffers from some minor flaws and a couple lesser songs. There's an interesting array of influences on display, from Eastern music to Andrew Bird. The Migrant shows he has a lot of talent and he knows how to use it.

Let's get right to the Eastern influences, because it is easily the coolest song on the album. Sung in what sounds like Danish, "Gor hvad du sagde du vil gore en dag" is an ambient combination of flutes, guitars, and a medley of other instruments that create a wall of sound which uses a lot of Eastern tonality. It's a song that relies on mood rather than lyrics and it's easy to just get lost on the sound. This is a common thread over the course of the album, since a lot of the lyrics seem more like a Radiohead-style stream-of-consciousness rambling rather than anything too coherent. "The Organ Grinder" is a song that is just Migrant and guitar which uses the idea of lyrics as mood creation, to give the impression of moving steadily in a car through the countryside. It's a pleasant ride that serves as a nice lead-in to the album, showcasing Migrant's interesting style of lyrics and his flair for creating images with his music. "In The Sun" is also a highlight, a swaying song where Migrant muses about love as he strums his guitar in a jaunty 6/8 rhythm. It's a little more upbeat and fun than the songs around it, which serves to keep things from getting stale.

The downside of the album is that sometimes the incoherent lyrics get frustrating. This is mainly when it sounds like he's trying to make a point, but there's no sense of meaning, just random words strung together. Whether this is a problem of the lyrics not translating well or not I can't speak to, but it can be annoying later in the album. The album's closer, "You Think You Know," is also the weakest track on the album. It meanders around, as though it can't decide what kind of song it wants to be. It also starts out by going from whisper quiet, to loud and back, which can be startling if you had the volume up or aren't expecting it. It's as though Migrant was trying to experiment but it didn't quite work.

In the end, this is a solid singer/songwriter album from a man with a lot of talent. If you're into quirky folk artists like Andrew Bird, Sufjan Stevens, or the like, check this out. You might just find that there's a lot to love about this album despite the few flaws it does have. This is well worth your time and is likely the start of a fruitful career for The Migrant, wherever his travels take him next.

-Brenden Kirch

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