The Migrant - Travels In Lowland

one hell of a holiday


A lot of bands will tell you that songs written on tour buses often don’t add up to much. Sadly for Bjarke Bendtsen, that’s all he’s got here as this, is debut album, is a collection of songs written whilst spending two years trundling around the US with a suitcase and a guitar. Essentially it’s a young man’s attempt to soundtrack The Littlest Hobo and, do you know what? It’s rather wonderful.
Cleverly, this wasn’t recorded on the road and there’s more than a weedy voiced Danish bloke strumming an acoustic guitar to fill up your listening time. Clarinets, glockenspiels, kazoos, melodikas, accordions, organs, mandolins and more all make an appearance or two. He even gets away with using a flute and the use of backing vocals is effective and, at times, extraordinary.
Bendtsen has a knack of building up songs to dramatic conclusions and his clever arrangements make them feel exciting, cathartic and truly warranted and quite unexpected in a 'folk' album like this. His friends help him create a wall of sound that’s jaunty, relaxed and totally effective. There’s a lot of power and precision to these songs but they’re delivered with a deftness of touch that makes them all feel light and airy. Take In The Sun for example, which has more instruments active in it than a pre-school music lesson and yet the whole thing skips along so gently that you just get carried away with it. It’s also a good example of his ability to craft a phrase too – Chasing a tambourine back to the pagans. I love that.
Special praise must be given to Ger hvad du sagde du vil gøre en dag, if only because it’s great to hear a Scandinavian act that isn’t afraid to sing in their own language every now and again and the ridiculous ‘fly’ noises in beans just makes me roar each time.
One thing can be certain, on this evidence, The Migrant had one hell of a holiday. Catch up with his memories today and you won’t regret it.