Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
Without a doubt, Langhorne Slim would have loved to have been raised by wolves. It would have been the way he would have chosen it to be, had that choice been left up to him. He would have wanted the dirtiness, all that fur, the matted pelt, the ability to just roam and roam, the howling, the fighting over the last leg bone, that baring of those fangs, the growling, the animalistic love-making, the pack life and the unpredictability - that scare-factor. He would have loved it all, for it would have brought him to a point of self-recognition and some kind of abnormal normalcy, as if he'd found himself and could suddenly explain all of his feelings, wants and needs. He's no carnivore or an aggressive animal, but his is an unchained spirit that cannot seem to be tamed, or at least that seems to be what he most wrestles with in his chugging, rolling thunder stabs of song. "Back To The Wild," the first cut on his group's newest album, "Be Set Free," offers a line in support of this guesswork, this assumption. He sings, "If I could return to when I was a child, I'd forget what I'd learned and go back to the wild," making it easy to believe that all of this - whatever this is at the moment - is too much for him to indulge in and digest. It strains the man, but it doesn't have to, if it could all be chopped off, lopped away and thrown to the ground like clothes that are no longer needed, just flung down into the grass tufts as he just sprints off into the wooded covering, never to turn around. Langhorne Slim is constantly slipping on this idea of being a stranger in a strange land, imbibing the drinks that are poured and stirred, eating the food that's being presented as native cuisine, doing the things that normal people seem to be doing and then questioning what the purpose is, why he's doing them too, as if all is folly, and confusing folly at that. Although, it's not madness that he ascribes to these things, it's a disconnection, as if he's occupying some kind of half-self that he would only partially own up to. There is a restlessness that he feels closer to and it has him split and sleepless. He lives through these days that are just like an ice that can just melt simply away. His nights are made of the same substance, though it melts away more slowly and less exactly, leaving streaks and vague memories, hangovers and odd receipts and papers tucked into the pockets of his pants when he awakens the mornings after. He sings, "You ever feel like a fish out of water/I do sometimes," and he means it more than anything else he sings on "Be Set Free." It's a line that he'd choose as his own heartbeat, should a line ever been needed for such a personal and identifying characteristic. It is his thump and his whoosh, what makes the movements move. Some are born to be good and some are born to be bad, he sings elsewhere on the album and it remains to be seen what difference it really would make. It's all good and it's all bad. Langhorne Slim is equal parts both of those sides and it's all of what keeps him guessing and pawing at the yellow moon up above.