Julian Langer is a singer/songwriter from England who recently released an album entitled Forest Floor Pirates. Langer can fit into the category of folk with his main weapons as an acoustic guitar and vocals. Forest Floor Pirates contains an overwhelming twenty-four tracks and is quite a mixed bag of material. Some of it works very well and other things don’t pan out.
Langer’s biggest issue at this point is finding a niche and sticking with it. He takes on different tones with his vocals and also delves into disparate styles such as “Mask of Time” which has a mythical eastern vibe or the avant-garde free jazz piano playing on “Jazz Pianist In Hell.” That really is just the beginning of the random, unconnected styles he attempts. You could easily confuse Forest Floor Pirates with a compilation album if you weren’t confronted by the fact that this is from one guy. There are some inspired moments on Forest Floor Pirates even if they usually end up not connecting to anything else on the album.
The album opens with “Through the Door” which is a solid song, which revolves around a soft pad, guitar and vocals. Langer sounds good on this track even if he occasionally pushes his vocals too far. The song went on a bit too long but was still enjoyable. “The Road” is another solid song and contains mantra style singing and other eastern sounds you don’t find too much in the west.
“Elements” has some parts in the song that worked very well. Take for instance the guitar fills he implements a minute-and-a-half in. Other parts like when he aggressively is strumming his guitar would have benefited from more elements to support it. Songs like “Evergreen” contains stripped back melancholy that fits Langer. He doesn’t force anything here and sounds good when he isn’t straining his vocals.
“Raven” is an acappella ditty that sounds like a traditional Irish song or something you would hear in King Arthur. Langer takes a couple more stabs at eastern sounding modes and tones with “Come Take My Hand/We’ve Been Here Before.” Other tracks like the forty-eight second interlude were utterly baffling as to why they were included.
It’s obvious Langer has some talent but he just doesn’t know where to put it. Forest Floor Pirates would have worked better if it were cut up into two or even three albums. He could have at least split some of the eastern influenced songs with the other material he has. Langer is going to want to do some thinking about his style and then some consolidating about what type of music he wants to present to the world.
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