Some avid followers of the blog may have come across Julian Langer a while ago when I shared one of his songs with you, recently, though, the young Devon-based acoustic folk singer-songwriter has brought out his debut album. Having dealt with the whole process of recording releasing and promoting the LP completely on his own he seems to be creating quite a stir in his local scene. The album, which was written during and after Langer’s treatment for a pineal brain tumour, is both moving and impressive in many ways. Consisting of ten tracks all of which are completely home produced by Julian simply using his own home equipment.
When it comes down to it, though, the real question is whether the music itself is good and I can honestly say that Langer’s eponymous debut really is a record that delivers at the most essential level. Production-wise I found it very difficult to notice any kind of reduction in quality due to his lack of equipment or training, with every track sounding crisp, clear and smooth. His guitar technique is arguably the stand-out element of the album with every song containing it’s own unique feel and emotion that is not only expressed just as well through his guitar parts as his singing. Despite saying that the lyrics are another particularly special part of the record, having gone through such a journey at such a young age (he’ll be turning 22 shortly) its touching to hear him express his feelings through these songs. His poetic lyrics are given a voice that is untrained but, perhaps for that very reason, deeply personal and real. What Langer does particularly well is change the mood without playing with his tried and tested style, while the tracks all flow nicely together they all have a very different feel to them moving from feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy in tracks like Still Life, (Well this is a still life, of a man, singing for the night, and I wish I could create, something beautiful) to things with a much more, relaxed and often nostalgic feel, with The Woods, for example (A childhood spent outside all day, learning how not to behave). Above all though what the record delivers is a feeling of hope, for me. Langer insists the album isn’t any more impressive because of his illness, he suggests that, ‘it’s just life. You just go through and progress or you die and I don’t want to die.’
Overall though, Julian has produced a strong album when all the odds are, really stacked against him and this record deserves all the attention it can get so give this track a listen and if you like it the albums available both on disc or via iTunes.