I have had a patchy relationship with Spotify’s Discover feature: what with it constantly suggesting either bland pop folk with all the bands completely indistinguishable or, sometimes, things compared to which techno radio from the 80s sounds a treat (seriously, what in my music history suggests a liking for scary electronica?). But recently it has sent my way music so great that it has by now completely messed up my last.fm scrobbling statistics and now my top artist is one I haven’t even heard of a couple of weeks ago, named Langhorne Slim.
Now, my friends are great people but somehow I don’t know anyone with whom I could discuss my folky inclinations and after hearing When the Sun’s Gone Down so, so many times I just need to share my abundant feelings – while my husband can only suffer so much. So, thank you imaginary internet audience for being here to listen.
The album has everything I like and, what is more, it works together: frantic guitar strumming, underproduced abrasive sound, catchy melodies and addictiveness. The frantic guitar (or is it banjo? I don’t care) kicks right in from the beginning with the great “In the Midnight” where you can catch such intriguing snippets as “I wasn’t faking all my quest to love you less” and this energy continues for a few dynamic songs. A short instrumental song bridges into the second part of the album which is more mixed: it has both quick songs similar to the first ones and a few slower, more bizarre ones (which, after hearing the album a few dozen times I did find a little tiresome). This leads to the incredible, sort of titular “By the Time the Sun’s Gone Down.” If the similarity of the title suggests this to be the most important song of the album, that would be quite right because it is here that the rawness leads to wonderful frankness and emotionality. Even though it’s one of the most subdued numbers of the album, to me it’s most memorable.
After that, the album picks up again with a few lighthearted songs, leading to the closing, clownish and dance-hallish “I Love to Dance” that leaves you with a smile (or, you know, just opens again into “In the Midnight” if you’re me). All too rarely I chance upon an album that I can listen to over and over again. And when it’s by someone whose sense of humor and vocals (generally higher than I like) remind me of sort-of-early Dylan (when he discovered playing with a band but still had some self-distance) – well, if you know me at all, you know that’s about the highest musical compliment I can think of. I’m sorry Langhorne Slim is not more famous (which means he’ll never ever come to play here) but I hope at least my obsessive spotifying of his songs will earn him a few cents and add to his sense of appreciation.