Langhorne Slim: Be Set Free (Kemado, 2009)
I almost hate myself because I don’t love this album. I became a big Langhorne Slim fan last year and that Langhorne Slim & The War Eagles album was the album of the year for me. Therefore it hurts that I have to admit that Be Set Free is a big dissapointment to me. Langhorne Slim can still write great songs and he can still sing perfectly. There’s nothing wrong with the core of the songs, but why the hell there are tons of instruments in the background. If Marty McFly and Doc would lend me their DeLorean I would change two things. A) I would sack the producer and throw all these strings, organs, trumpets and all the other instruments whose name I don’t even know out of the window B) I would lock Mr Langhorne Slim to the studio with just a guitar and told him to just play the songs live and sing his heart out. Fourty minutes later a great record would have seen the light of the day.
I know this is totally unfair critizism, but for me the arrangements just kill the songs. I’m sure they are genuinely excited about this more ambitious direction and they didn’t do it in order to appeal to larger audiences. Hopefully Langhorne Slim will do just that though and become much more popular. Despite the fact that his music sounds a lot lamer than before he is still a great folk songwriter and most likely a wonderful live performer. What does it really matter if some finnish prick on the other side of the globe prefers those old records. He can just keep on watching that youtube video of I Love You, But Goodbye over and over again because the song sounds so much better there than on the record.
Production / Arrangements
If it would only sound like this on a record:
The same song (with a really horrible ending) is also on his myspace if you want to compare. For me this youtube version with just an acoustic guitar is million times better.