John Moreland – LP5

One is not like any of the others. What have we here? A singer songwriter? A style that used to dominate my list until the liberation of my listening. (See RTJ review for more on that).

When I discovered this one. I was driving to one of The Roosevelt’s new locations on a Friday and the first song, “Harder Dreams” was so mesmerizing. It was textured in a way that just had me hanging on every note. 

“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” – Harder Dreams

Is that the right word textured? I’m about to over use that word. Does it have any weight when I’m talking about songs that I heard? Well anyway, texture is definitely something that I found on the first track and it lured me into the rest. What holds you on this album is the catchiness of the acoustic “Harder Dreams” is not where the album camps musically. There is more texture (lol) in different forms everywhere. (sidenote: if world class athlete, Michael Cress wrote these reviews, that would have been his paragraph)

When it comes to best describing the sound of LP5, Pitchfork reviewer Jason P. Woodbury says it better;

On LP5, there’s no mistaking it, with its resulting mix of swamp-dunked soul, elevated AOR chords, thick grooves, multi-tracked vocals, drum machine clicks, and hovering ambient synths. Moreland’s heartland visions of devils, heretics, and existential discomfort were already kaleidoscopic; LP5 mutates his sound to match.

Introspection is at the heart of this album. Ready for some lyrics? There are so many memorable lines I am going to post a bunch to chew on

“Shame is a cancer, go easy on your heart” – A Thought Is Just A Passing Train


“Sing hallelujah, I was found but now I’m lost

I heard the call and I bet it all, and never even added the cost

You gave me a purpose, but I could not complete the task

As a child I repented my nature, ’til as a man, I repented my past” – Terrestrial


“Well, ain’t you had enough, living in this picture show?

Move a little closer, but, oh, don’t let your demons show

But I wouldn’t go back even if I could

Howling at the drunken thunder, Lord, let me be understood” – Let Me Be Understood

Ooowee, did you read that line above? “As a child I repented my nature, ’til as a man, I repented my past”. Chew on that, especially if you grew up in church. John’s voice growls and the music captivates. That is what storytellers do. They want you to listen in closely. And I wanted to hear every word. 

Pitchfork Review


2018 Tiny Desk


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