Music Reviews
Navigated Like The Swan

Young Moon Navigated Like The Swan

(Western Vinyl) Buy it from Insound Rating - 6/10

Trevor Montgomery carries a lot of baggage – musically, spiritually and well, who knows what's in his backpack. This perhaps explains the deep, reverential and emotional content that seeps into each project to which he lays his touch. Post-rock band Tarantel, Moholy-Nagy, The Drift, and Lazarus all mark themselves upon his musical countenance. Listen back to his last release under his Lazarus moniker and tracks like Oh with defeated, grisly vocals and lamentable lyrics: ‘Oh Lord, what’s wrong with me? I can’t stop drinkin’ hard pornography,’ we begin to understand the mind of a man grossly immersed in the profound grey areas of life.

Montgomery this time brings to life a new project under the dreamy connotations of Young Moon. And, I mean, he already has his own solo project so why isn’t this another Lazarus album? Much the same as records can encapsulate a passage of someone or a band’s life; the different outlets for Montgomery’s creativity do the same under each assumed persona. Montgomery said of Navigated Like The Swan’s beginning that, “A Reason is where I started making this record. I made that song and thought to myself, that feels good, that feels true, let’s keep doing this.”

It’s the evolution that he grapples with naturally that defines his music. Struggle, desperation; misery and helplessness cling to him like shadows with only music a means of casting light upon them. It seems that music saves him from the sinister echoes within himself and his mind. Montgomery has openly admitted having conflict with suicidal thoughts, inspiring Emma Jane, a song about a young girl who committed suicide by jumping from The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Navigated Like The Swan was written, recorded and performed entirely by Montgomery on his own – a quite astonishing feat considering the density of sound which drenches the record. Quite simply it uses a few guitars, drum machines and a some synths – pretty basic stuff – but the atmospheres transcend such simplicity. The previously mentioned A Reason, its predecessor March and The Crystal Text stand out as examples of his proficiency and ability to create translucent, hazy dimensions which only he himself could imagine.

Hearing Young Moon’s debut out of context in such an illustrious career would be disrespectful. Perhaps he chose to release Navigated Like The Swan under a new synonym for exactly that purpose, to be taken in isolation. But, I must admit, when I did this it became confusing and ultimately disappointing. Not until I had connected with the history of the artist could I connect with his art, and maybe that will be the downfall of this record.

When you begin to understand a man that searches for the answers to the troubling questions of his life in his music, you begin to understand his world. It may be melancholic and introverted, something which many will find tedious, but there is a truth to his world. Disappointments are many, cynicism becomes controlling and optimism is nearly impossible but there is always hope, and there is a message which I would return for again and again.