A welcome ray of up-tempo indie-folk infused sunshine.
Although born in Germany to a German mother and an American GI father Michael Lane spent much of his youth growing up in America. The swing to America was reinforced when he joined the US military, a stint that included tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. A familiar backdrop for an indie-folk singer this was most definitely not. Those experiences informed much of his early work, and he describes those songs as a musical diary in which he could process some of those events. And so, having exorcised those particular ghosts it is with a forward looking eye, rather than a backward reflection, that Lane uses as the focus for his fifth album. To aid this forward-looking theme Lane has been influenced by his peers, admitting that, for the first time in his musical career, he has been inspired by other, unnamed, musicians in the genre. ‘Take It Slow’ positively bursts with optimism with each track infused with an upbeat and infectious tempo. It is an album dominated by melodic acoustic guitar, often with subtle and understated beginnings building to a rousing chorus. Well, rousing in the context of the album that is.
Lane wanted ‘Take It Slow’ to carry a message of hope and positivity and in that respect he has succeeded. The whole album feels like it has been constructed with a smile on the face of its creator. The fact that Lane is now firmly rooted back in Germany with his family does nothing to disguise the feeling that the album is a soft top down, sunshine fuelled drive down the Californian coast.
In these times of what feels like an almost unrelenting air of gloom and despair an album that injects a ray of sunshine into proceedings cannot be a terrible thing. The dilemma though is that Lane has gone down this road so far that there is little distinguishing one song from another. They all segue seamlessly, one into the other, each song showcasing his guitar skills and gentle vocals. The album is bursting with bouncy, radio-friendly tracks and there is not a bad track to be found – but neither is there a standout either.
But rather than be churlish, perhaps now, more than ever, we should celebrate artists like Michael Lane who are striving to bring a little sunshine into our lives. And for that Michael Lane, we salute you.
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