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Folk-pop that straddles
old and new

Langhorne Slim - Langhorne Slim
(Kemado Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: April 23, 2008
Langhorne Slim

Review by Tony Bonyata

The type of music that singer/songwriter Langhorne Slim taps into on his self-titled album for Kemado Records is a familiar, time-honored style that sounds more like it was influenced from the rural South than either his newfound home of NYC, or even the quite suburban town of Langhorne, PA, where the twenty-seven year-old musician (born Sean Scolnick) was raised and got his stage name from.

There are two contributing factors for this - the first being Slim's core backing band, The War Eagles (Paul Defiglia on upright bass and Malachi DeLorenzo on drums), along with Slim on guitar and the occasional, yet very welcome, piano, organ and accordion accompaniments from Sam Kassirer. Second, and probably more important, are the songs themselves; strongly crafted and steeped in love and human emotion, in which Slim admits, "I'm not sure that there's' any other kind, but the songs I write are love songs. Some are literal, about specific events, people and relationships in my life; a form of therapy, self-help for the flowers and the crap along the road of life."

While the singer also admits that some of his songs, "come from a place far more mysterious," there's really nothing here that's all that bewildering, but, with that said, there sure is a lot to like about the familiarity of Slim's honest songwriting and unique vocal delivery, which at times cracks with a nervous vulnerability (on the folkie acoustic number "Oh Honey") and, at others, hoots and howls like a mad coyote (as on the uplifting western pop of "She's Gone," which by song's end turns into a greasy, churning groove that wouldn't sound out of place on The Stones' Exile On Main Street).

Mixing folk and hillbilly know-how with some great pop hooks on songs like the infectious "Tipping Point" and "Restless" helps to keep things fresh, while the opening track "Spinning Compass" has a sunny indie chamber-pop vibe to it, as does "Hello, Sunshine," which swells and pounds with all the intensity of The Arcade Fire.

Although not his first full-length effort, Langhorne Slim's self-titled album strides confidently atop a fence between old and new effectively enough to springboard his music career to the next level.

Watch Langhorne Slim Sing - "I Love You, But Goodbye"

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