When an artist turns from metalcore to country and folk music – he just has to be an interesting guy to me. John Moreland did that transformation – and just released his fifth album LP 5 on February, 7th, 2020. Here is my review.
John Moreland – About The Artist
John Moreland is a country music artist born in 1985 in Longview, Texas. However, his family moved a couple of times during his childhood. At the age, he finally ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. One of his first noted bands was he local band Thirty Called Arson – which in fact played metalcore. Not too much much, he founded the Black Gold Band, their first single was Endless Oklahoma Sky. The music of Steve Earle inspired him that much that he moved from metalcore to country and folk. His debut solo album was released in 2011 (Earthbound Blues). LP5 is his fifth solo album. Moreland still runs a music business, for which he packs and mails the records by himself.
John Moreland – LP 5 – Track By Track
The eleven tracks of LP5 take 41 minutes. Two of the video below are audio recordings and do not match the album version.
1. Harder Dreams
All the gods are watching wars on television
Placing their bets and telling jokes about religion
Crowded in for the sins we studied on silver screens
Couldn’t wait ’til we graduated to harder dreams
And I hear your sermon but I don’t think I believe
John Moreland does not need too many words in this first track to create atmosphere. Thereby, his songs are very vocal driven, you just have to listen to his intense bass voice.
2. A Thought Is Just a Passing Train
A Thought Is Just a Passing Train feels like a blues train. The song is very differently arranged than the first, especially as his voice and parts of guitar sounds are distorted.
3. East October
East October was the first track to be released of LP 5 – and that’s maybe for a good reason: it is just a good, very easy to listen song. But still, it is an intense one, his voice reminds me a lot of Bruce Springsteen when they arrange his voice like this.
4. I’m Learning How to Tell Myself the Truth
Acoustic guitar, a bit of piano, backing vocals – that’s all which Moreland needed to record that song. The piano element gives a new character to the album, even though it is just very sparsely used.
5. Two Stars
Two Stars is just an eighty second instrumental interlude.
Sing hallelujah, I was lost but now I’m found
Come on in, we’ll treat you like kin, long as you don’t make a scene or a sound
You gave me a restlessness that lives deep down in my bones
And a pretty good reason to keep right on being alone
This song is quite rhythmic, using drum elements. A keyboard background is also giving a very special atmosphere. This makes the song a bit of “heavy” to me, I have to admit.
7. In Times Between
This voice is just impressive – it makes me calm down, feel a bit of melancholic and makes me listen to his song. Maybe, it is even a bit too much of that in a song like In Times Between.
8. When My Fever Breaks
When My Fever Breaks has a touch of a radio song. It just has a much wider arrangement than most other songs of the album, which also makes Johne Moreland’s music feel a bit lighter and easier. Some of the songs before were a bit too intense for me – this one is a good one.
9. I Always Let You Burn Me to the Ground
We never talked about survival
I don’t know what good talking would’ve done
My long lost revival
Withered up in the adolescent sun
Lost, let down
I always let you burn me to the ground
I am unwound
I always let you burn me to the ground
This song, which is in fact a duet, is a very impressive song. In the interlude, it even uses some string elements.
10. For Ichiro
This is another instrumental track, which is majorly playing with piano and electronic sound elements.
11. Let Me Be Understood
The final track is another example how simplistic John Moreland songs are: a bit of guitar, a bit more of the harmonica in this song – and you have a good listen. Finally, it is about the lyrics and the voice anyway.
John Moreland – LP 5 – Spotify
Here is the Spotify widget leading to John Moreland’s album:
John Moreland – LP 5 – My View
John Moreland is doing his thing on LP 5. The most prominent proof for this to me is For Ichiro, which does not really feel to fit into the sounds of the album to me. He does good music, the album shows a lot of different elements, but finally, its character is due to two elements: Moreland’s picturesque songwriting and his amazing and strong voice. There is no outstanding song on the album and to me, the songs are sometimes a bit too intense for me. I guess it is much easier and better to see him on stage – I could imagine that this will be massive!
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