Langhorne Slim has always been a bit of a contradiction,
creating folk-rock that is both well-crafted and shambolic, as if he labored
over his songwriting then threw away the blueprint and decided to go jam at a
hootenanny. 2008’s Langhorne Slim was
a masterpiece, full of fun and instantly memorable songs.
On Be Set Free,
the balance is slightly off, as if the songs aren’t fully baked yet. This may
have something to do with the fact that Slim had three years to work on the
last album and only one for this one. Many of the songs sound like retreads,
and the innovations Slim does make, such as adding string arrangements and keyboards,
wind up taking away some of the spontaneity and simplicity that made him so
appealing in the first place. Be Set Free is hardly a bad record, but it’s a bit of a disappointment from an artist
capable of so much more.
Tracks: “Back to the Wild” “So Glad That I’m Coming Home” HAL