Moo Moo 2020
Experienced singer-songwriter starts embracing his own personality and his own time.
The veteran of a few Californian collectives, Ben Lang found 2020 to be a perfect opportunity to go solo and, since his method as a composer always relied on Americana-styled sound, the troubadour angle seemed like a logical way to pursue the individual path. That’s what this six-track offering is about – yet while introspective, it’s also playful and varied enough to display different aspects of the artist’s personality. Of course, in accordance with the guidelines of Lang’s chosen genre, his songs are acoustically driven, which doesn’t mean Ben’s storytelling should be limited to country-tinctured tropes.
This is why “Houston-New Orleans” comes across as an upbeat travelogue as a steady thump and catchy strum underpin the Port Arthur-born, San Rafael-based musician’s deceptively deadpan delivery – an account of a contemporary cowboy’s woes – before sweet communal harmonies wash over the cut’s chorus, while the twangy title track rocks a lovers’ lane with a gentle swagger set up by a full-group arrangement, and the transparent “Nailin’ It” channels romanticism through a fragile echo chamber. Lang’s conversational approach will reach the apex on “Hollow Spaces” where his simple lines feel most intimate, but it’s followed by the hoedown-fit “Tee Off With Your Head” that induces a smile on the listener’s face and welcomes the short lullaby-like ditty “Mr. Moon” – the “Midnight Special” for our times.
There’s a concept lurking here, and if Lang is ready to present it on an LP his solo debut is a rather promising precursor to this new phase of Ben’s career.