Sound — 7
Where do you put an artist who shapes an album out of elements of country, folk, calypso, reggae, acoustic-pop, and anything else he can find? That sums up what singer-songwriter Micah Lashbrook, who goes by the moniker Freewood, has done with his new CD "Talanzias". Lashbrook's agenda may not include the most popular music out there which he shares with the likes of Sufjan Stevens, but his music comes from within himself and when he pours it out, he cannot seem to stop. The album opens with "Common Goal" which vibrates with calypso-toned motifs fraught in reggae accents and rippling conga beats. After Lashbrook releases this from his system, the album switches into a country-folk strumming molding "Thought I Was A Gun" with twangy acoustics, which shift again into a clip-clopping tapping reminiscent of the cantor of horses hooves through "Time". Lashbrook shows a fetish for nostalgic country as he tethers "Black Swan Song" to a western flange in the guitar chords emblematic of Johnny Cash and a throng of whistles piping through the melody. The country textures allude to theme songs used in Spaghetti Westerns that came out of Hollywood in the 1960's and '70s, while the lithesome piano ballad of "Maggie May" moves the album into chamber music/torchlight territory.
Lyrics — 8
Lashbrook's lyrics produce a reflective mood as he muses, "Deep inside my mind you're still alive". The tone of his voice is reminiscent of Mic Jagger in The Rolling Stones tune "Wild Horses". Lashbrook's penchant for a slow moving tempo keep tracks like "Satellites" and "The Settle" suspended while Lashbrook's vocals latch onto the slight ascents and descents in the grooves. The lyrics in "Satellites" reveal Lashbrook's concerns about probing eyes in his life when he tells, "As I sleep alone tonight / Satellites, Satellites / As I sleep, another satellite's orbiting 'round my bed / As I dream, another satellite's chasing you through my mind / Follow me under a surveyed sky / Orbit around my head / What they search for no one knows / How they got there, no one knows / If we can't see eye to eye / Then I'll guess I'll never wonder why". The lyrical themes revolve around human insecurities and longing desires.
Overall Impression — 7
Lashbrook's songs are catered to his preferences. He writes music independent of public opinion. He does not make it evident if he had an ulterior motive behind how he linked his album together. He plays music that excites him, and it's his enthusiasm that makes the biggest impact on the listener.