Xavier Rudd: White Moth

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Xavier Rudd: White Moth

Here comes Rhymin' Rudd

When Paul Simon filtered reggae's vibe into 1973's "Was A Sunny Day," he swapped the genre's aphoristic politics for pure lilt. He also probably didn't count on generations of imitators. Australian surfer dude/multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd takes this approach and adds the politics back in. Sort of. "My respect to the ones in the forest, standing up for our old trees," he sings on White Moth's opening track "Better People" in a bit of rhetoric that recalls Ali G, before delving into the faux-Rasta accents of "Twist" ("some people going twist up together, help to feel better," dontchaknow). Later, Rudd gets earnestly righteous on a trio of tunes about Australia's indigenous tribes ("Land Rights," "Message Stick" and "Anni Kookoo"), the latter of which is straight-up Simonism. The occasional didgeridoodler has a keen ear, and when he brandishes his Ben Harper-style resonator arrangements, late-disc lullabies like "Whirlpool" are genuinely pretty. Whether big-hearted messenger or ripe self-parodist, Rudd is always pleasant. Jesse Jarnow

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