In his native Australia, Ziggy has received gold and a platinum certification for multiple singles and even started his own record label, Commonfolk Records. It’s through this record label that Ziggy has released his eighth record, ‘Searching For Freedom’. As I write this, I’m sitting in the garden, the sun beating down and stillness in the air and it’s in this setting that ‘Searching For Freedom’ comes into its own. It’s twelve tracks of acoustic beauty that if it were any more laid back would be asleep.
‘Keeper’ eases the album with the sort of singer-songwriter campfire on the beach acoustic which Jack Johnson has earned his fame. While on the face of it it seems as though it may just be one man and his guitar, there is much more to it. The beauty in part is in the subtleties, whether it’s the backing vocal that harmonise so beautifully and helps to add some depth to the track, the xylophone that tinkles delicately in the background, or the double bass that quietly enters the scene in the second half. And that’s just in the first track. Throughout ‘Searching For Freedom’, Ziggy Alberts clearly has an idea of how to create atmosphere and add depth to each track without overwhelming them.
The second track ‘Together’ takes more from bands such as a Hudson Taylor or Lumineers with an almost imperceptible beat behind it driving the track forward. It’s this upbeat purpose that backs up ‘Together’’s message of hope and unity. As the track builds up and the refrain of “I know where we belong, I know where” strides in, you find yourself believing every word and singing along. Following on from his song of unity, ‘Don’t Get Caught Up’ is here almost as an anti-establishment/news musing. It’s easy to think that an acoustic singer-songwriter is here to sing about failed relationships or being in love so it’s refreshing when an artist such as Ziggy Alberts comes along with his beach vibes and is trying to spread messages that aren’t just about his own life but rather something much bigger. Not to say that there aren’t songs about relationships. ‘Heartbeat’ is a song of loss but with a second-half that you can already hear a crowd singing along to. ‘Getting Low’ with its subtle percussion and beautiful chord progression in the chorus is a highlight of ‘Searching From Freedom’ even if it is one of the sadder songs on the album. That is until the incredible ending when Ziggy brings in a trumpet, violin, and some friends to help with vocals and turns the song from melancholy to joyful.
The change in tones and use of different instruments throughout ‘Searching For Freedom’ keeps the album interesting and is one of those albums you could put your headphones on at the beach and feel the tide come and go. Ziggy Alberts is clearly talented and each song feels unique which is where a lot of singer-songwriters trip up.