Xavier Rudd’s clearly gone to a darker place on his new release, aptly named Dark Shades of Blue. The songs are a little less sunny, a little more electric, but still the solid work that Rudd has become known for.
Dabbling a bit on the more morose side of life, the Australian singer/multi-instrumentalist has gone a little more raw on Dark Shades, but pulled it off by not deviatng too far from formula. Tracks like "This World As We Know It" are still propelled by his didgeridoo; while this set of tracks may be a little edgier than his norm, he’s still Xavier Rudd (but at times his electric stuff here sounds a little like countryman John Butler).
Rudd doesn’t completely forgo his acoustic, though; "Shiver," "Home," and "Hope You’ll Stay" all deliver the gentle touch that the artist is capable of.
From front to back, Dark Shades of Blue runs the gamut of emotion, and does so in a way that doesn’t seem disjointed. The softer acoustic pieces fit with the powerful electric offerings. Instead of sounding like a mess, it serves to show the versatility of the artist. Not many musicians can deftly shift gears like Rudd does quite a bit on this album – it’s pretty hard to pull off the tender ballad, shift gears to a more reggae-tinged song like "Secrets," and then go back to a balls-to-the-wall rocker. Rudd does it all here, though, and as such has delivered one of the most well-rounded albums of 2008.
Dark Shades of Blue is out now on Salt.X Records