Be Set Free, Langhorne Slim review

Langhore Slim's Be Set Free has broken the glass ceiling reaching beyond the novelty beloved by fans, to a wider audience. This is one side of Langhorne Slim. It is the studio side. Langhorne Slim is an incredibly raw live band. Be Set Free produced by Chris Funk (The Decemberists) changes it up adding variety with new instrumental treatments. I would call it Langhorne Slim smooth but not lite.

Slim's songwriting and vocals is so versatile that they cross a variety of genres. Be Set Free does just that combining soul, folk and symphonic rock with heart stopping vocals that reach for the rafters. The slew of instruments piano, organ, brass, strings of all sorts are played by a cast of talented contributors.

The songs are simple and basic like a conversation spiced with little truisms. It is Slim's vocal delivery that adds emphasis broadening interpretation. There are many great catchy melodies, raucous Honky Tonk as well as strong heart tugging ballads.

Starting with the upbeat opener “Back to the Wild” with its smooth strumming, flurry of strings and steady shuffle percussion. Followed by “Say Yes” an optimistic take on love and possibilities.

“Be Set Free” is a ballad of significance with jewel like slide guitar and expressive piano. The soft shaker is the heartbeat for “I Love You But Goodbye”, blending gorgeous cascading piano with Slim’s fervent vocals.

Starting as a mild tempo and escalating to a full soulful throttle of impassioned intonation “For a Little While” blends contrast of timing. It peaks when Malachi DeLorenzo's slow shuffle drumming evolves into a hardcore exuberance mixed with the exhilarating mayhem of mashed up ingredients. “Cinderella” flirts with the listener, offering a soulful wink with help of Honky Tonk swing and an enthusiastic boy chorus.

The sumptuous "Leaving My Love" uses symphonic swells interspersed with lovely vocal dialogue between Slim and Erica Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards) The chorus of / I can't believe it / I'm leaving my love / intensifies like romantic longings.

In the tradition of country confessionals "So Glad I'm Coming Home" offers sincerity about going home in a sobered state and hoping to be welcomed back.

The album closes with "Boots Boy" an upbeat love affirmation, / I don't want just anybody / I want you / nobody but you /.

Be Set Free is sweet and sultry and naturally uplifts the spirit, A high worth getting.

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