When you first sit down and give Young Moon’s Navigated Like The Swan a spin, it’s hard to believe this is a one-man project, but it’s all the work of San Francisco’s Trevor Montgomery. From the second the needle drops on the first track (“The Crystal Text”), chiming synthesizers and sparkling guitars atop thumping percussion fill your ears.
Like its opening track, the album continues on a meandering path full of dense instrumentation and hazy melodies. By the second track, “Walk In White,” we hear Montgomery’s voice for the first time. He croons in a brooding baritone, and as he wails, “the night we met, I was sheltered in regrets. But you broke right through, like a stone breaks through glass,” its hard not to feel his sorrow and longing for a better future.
This heartache is the main theme encompassing Navigated Like The Swan. Montgomery admits that the record was largely inspired by his troubled childhood, but like the beauty and grace comprised in the bird he named his album after, there is a glimpse of hope in the young songwriter’s morose lyrics. In the record’s first single, “Winds Light,” Montgomery begs for that brighter tomorrow. Acting as a pseudo-optimist, he sings “tell me you love me, tell me I’m wrong. Tell me the light in your eyes is not gone,” as droning guitars and wailing keyboards seem to tell him otherwise.
The sullen mood continues throughout the remainder of the record, making it a little hard to get through. The tone doesn’t shift from track to track as you trudge through 13 songs and 42 minutes of glowering soundscapes and heavy lyrics. Though on their own, the songs hold up, their weight is too much to bear as a whole entity.