Langhorne Slim & the Law — The Way We Move. Out now, Ramseur Records.
Leave it to Langhorne Slim to write an optimistic breakup record: Slim’s songwriting has always leaned towards the honestly hopeful, or maybe the hopeful truth, and he takes it to a place of heartbreak, healing, and, welll, truth on his latest release. He doesn’t even try to hide it, opening the album with the title track and its bouncing chorus: you didn’t know, now you do; this is the way, this is the way we move. The idea that the truth can set you free — you didn’t know, now you do — is at the heart of The Way We Move as an album, not just a gorgeous title track.
Slim’s songwriting has also always contained a bounce, a level of upbeat sound that underscores even his sadder songs, and that’s another way that The Way We Move holds to Slim’s style and repairs hearts after a loss: bad luck got in me somewhere, but i will survive. It’s a calm acceptance of growing up and growing older, and that those things don’t come without some kind of inner peace — even in the face of bad luck — that you can miss things, and lose things, and continue surviving. The album is lush with the ragtime piano of David Moore, which picks up the hopeful feel of even sad songs like “Fire” and “Salvation”; the songs gain a timelessness with it, a place out of time even, and it takes them back to that place of universal hope and truth.
i’m scared to leave, but i know it’s time to go
it’s hard to face yourself when you’re looking back
The middle of the album — particularly the gorgeous and destroying “On The Attack” — is more grown-up logic mixed with emotion; a song about how sometimes love is just not enough pins down the album with its slow drumming and Slim’s plaintive yelping vocals. The worst part of growing up is knowing that you don’t always have all the answers, and sometimes you face things that are unexpected, difficult, unplanned: i found my heart but she weren’t around to give it to. Adult life is being lost and loving the wrong people and the right ones, and Slim’s songwriting on The Way We Move is a testament to all those feelings where you just don’t feel grown up enough.
maybe i’m too scared to try / maybe it was just a dream
Langhorne Slim & the Law are at the Casbah in Durham tomorrow with my beloved Ha Ha Tonka. Slim and his band put on one of the best live shows I’ve seen, and the Tonk match them blow for blow. It’s $12 at the door, and you should be there. It’ll be fucking great.