Sep 25, 2009

Langhorne Slim's Be Set Free Review


image from Amazon


Artist/Band: Langhorne Slim
Album: Be Set Free
Release Date: 9/22/09
Tracks: 13
Runtime: 38:18


Track Breakdown:

1) Back To The Wild - Being a folk singer, Langhorne Slim clearly based both his sound and his album cover on Bob Dylan. But he actually manages to do Dylan's musical legacy justice. This is a very peppy, very musical song that you wouldn't hate hearing in a commercial, probably for a cell phone company. A very good first impression, and that's what you should give in a first track, especially as an unknown. 5 *'s.

2) Say Yes - Not an awful song. Very pretty lyrics, and sonnet-like in its passion. Unfortunately, it's just a little too peppy for me and adventures outside of Dylan Folk Rock to 80's Glam Pop. 2 1/2 *'s.

3) I Love You, But Goodbye - Very John Mayer in its vocal delivery, maybe with a little bit of James Blunt, but the piano comes on too strong for me. The track would have greatly advantaged from a louder acoustic guitar rather than the bells and whistles. 2 1/2 *'s.

4) Land of Dreams - This one teeter-totters for me, because the lyrics are fantastic. This song tells a great story and has a very strong message, but the music is very much a downfall. It's a constant battle between 80's Never Ending Story soundtrack music vs. country bumpkin music. Never the less 3 1/2 *'s.

5) Cinderella - If you like Schroeder playing the piano in Peanuts cartoons, you might have a strong appreciation for this track. For the average listener though, it'll probably fall to a 1 1/2 *. Not a whole lot going for it.

6) Be Set Free - Not the worst song on the album. Good lyrics, decent enough sound to it, but really nothing strong about it to make it stand out enough to bring in fans. A mediocre 3 *.

7) For A Little While - Straight blues injected into the veins and into the brain. While missing that extra little oomph to make it a fantastic song, definitely a very good song, inspired by old timey blues players. 4 1/2 *'s.

8) Sunday By The Sea - What would have been a pretty good Summer hit, it's now fall and this song lacks impact. Very mellow and soothing though, so a 3 1/2 *'s for effort.

9) Leaving My Love - Another mellow song, kind of got a "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix kind of vibe to it, but minus the violence. Nothing to really make the song stand out as a must have though, which puts it at 3 *'s for me. Not skip-urging when it plays, but not skip-to either.

10) Yer Wrong - Not the best vocal track on the album, and actually rubs shoulders with Bright Eyes for raspy nerdy squeaky voice, however the big picture of this song really makes it worth listening to. I wouldn't mind hearing this as a soundtrack song, maybe on the radio as well, though I don't think it'll catch on with radio. 4 1/2 *'s.

11) Blown Your Mind - Ugh, more Peanuts piano playing matched with James Blunt vocals. If it weren't for the lyrics, this song would definitely not be worth scraping off the bottom of my heel, but I'll give it a generous 2 1/2 *s'.

12) So Glad I'm Coming Home - Definitely a great representation of what Langhorne Slim could become. He's got a fiery passion in his vocal delivery, a story to tell, and knows the words to tell that story perfectly. 5 *'s. Though in the future, I'd avoid violins, or fiddles, or whatever it is I'm listening to in the back. It didn't ruin the song, but it could very well be the catalyst to others.

13) Boots Boy - A strong Bob Dylan, give up all your material possessions in exchange for love, kind of song. A perfect ending track to the album that I was very impressed by. 5 *'s.


My Highlights:
Back To The Wild, So Glad I'm Coming Home and Boots Boy are definitely the best tracks on the album, and worth checking out in order to see if Langhorne Slim is for you.


Overall Rating: I went in expecting either someone doing Bob Dylan justice and bringing back what folk music is all about, or someone trying to make a name for themselves by spewing out some crap and labeling it folk because that's kind of, sort of, the music that they like. What I got was a somewhat gray area, mixing with doing Bob Dylan justice, and surprising me with a modern, pop kind of sound that shows Langhorne Slim can transition to whatever he needs to in order to be successful. So averaging all of these track ratings, I give Be Set Free 3.5 *'s out of 5*'s. So I suggest everyone check this album out, because I can't imagine you being disappointed. It's even easily accessible on Lala.com

2 comments:

  1. Who is the female vocals on track 9?

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  2. Had to do some digging, but my best guess on the source is Tina Piña Trachtenburg, of the Trachtenburg Family Band, which Langhorne Slim has stated on his myspace blog he is very loyal to for giving him his start. You can also hear some sample MP3 tracks from the T.F.B. off their website, and there is a fairly similar raspy female voice involved. Using process of elimination, the other female voice in the band is done by a young girl, so I'd go with Tina.

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