North Arm is essentially the work of Roderick Smith, and his new album ‘Bring The Daylight’ is as light as air and just as refreshing.
The opening title track is an absolutely gorgeous, reflective track bursting with a sense of melancholy and quiet resolve. Smith repeats the line ‘I’m coming home’: an expression itself that would launch a thousand ships of longing and memories.
There’s only one reason to stay at home, when you’re not alone, we hold each other’s hands in the night, helps me to bring the daylight, to bring the daylight
There is a hypnotic thrum underneath the yearning vocals, a gentleness that is at both calming and heartbreaking. Think of the gentle observational style of Belle and Sebastian, the chiming rhythms of The Go-Betweens and the folk-tinged style of Sufjan Stevens and you approach the sparkling levels of North Arm.
The accompanying video, directed by Tim Baker, evocatively captures the restlessness of the traveller torn between the beauty of the landscapes and the desire for home, filmed on Dharawal Country in the beautiful South Coast. Baker says:
I was listening to the track every morning whilst driving, searching for inspiration, I realised that documenting the drive itself would emulate the vibe of the track perfectly. I wanted to create a karaoke style video that captured the feeling I get when I turn off the highway and round the bends on my way home which reflects the repeated mantra of the outro. It’s a beautiful track that brings a warmth and nostalgia that had to be portrayed on film.
This is epically breathtaking and evocative combination of the sounds and visions that capture endless motion and return:
‘Somehow’ with its sweeping, weeping strings continues the yearning aura that flow through this album, Smith’s vocals quiet, understated and reflective. The dappling acoustic guitars pick and gambol across the gentle refrain. It is mesmerising and peaceful track.
The pace quickens in ‘Happy Again’: a folk-infused track that has a haunting whistling refrain and gently picked guitars with atmospheric lilt.
‘What Just Happened?’ emerges from the clouds and is more intimate and close floating across strings.
‘Timepass Colours’ is ambient and dreamy, coasting along with a sense of yearning and reflection, while ‘Saviour floats like a leaf in a slow moving stream: soft acoustic sounds murmur quietly under Smith’s velvet vocals and the plunking strings.
Smith’s ears for indelible melodies shine in ‘Warmface’ dealing delicately with mourning and loss.
Final track ‘Serpent’ is stately and melancholic: heart achingly beautiful and delicate as the accompanying video:
‘Bring The Daylight’ is a quiet reflective and sparkling album: considered, delicate and filled with a shimmering beauty that recalls dappled sunlight, a sense of loss and mourning and a determined resilience. There is an indelible pastoral air about it, something warm and comforting.