Michael Lane – Traveling Son
12 songs, 51 minutes
German pop musician Michael Lane’s new record Traveling Son is an enjoyable and at times moving reflection on life and family that meditates on the world around us.
Save the vaporous wisps of the Blues that permeates all mainstream music created after say 1945, Traveling Son is not by any metric a Blues record. Please, do read on and decide if you would like to listen to this record! There are many beautiful gripping moments in which Lane transcends what has become a modern Indie Pop formula originated by U2 and made antiseptic by Coldplay.
Michael Lane was born in Germany and moved to the United States as a child. An Iraq war veteran, Lane moved back to Germany in 2012 and began a successful career in Europe. Traveling Son is his 4th full length album and 2nd to be self-produced. Lane sings with a sweet James Taylor tenor. He also often pushes his range into a high and lonely falsetto. The music on Traveling Son, unfortunately no musicians are credited in the press info, is at times ethereal, swooping and soaring. There is strong propulsive parade ground percussion to many of the songs. This is earthy modern pop, like above mentioned Coldplay with less pretension and more heart.
There are some truly unique and genre defying moments. The title track is the first number of the sequence and sets the tone for the album. A clean arpeggiated acoustic guitar buttresses Lane in the middle of his range, full JT mode (the OG JT – Taylor not Timberlake). The verses give way to soaring loping choruss of layered vocals. This is the song that describes Lane’s childhood trip from Germany to the US, packed with emotion and evocative images. “Believe” and “Just a Child” stay on lyrical theme and follow the same quiet verse, big chorus pattern. The latter finds Lane switching to falsetto during the chorus to big emotional effect.
Traveling Son has a clear singular sound and consistency across tracks. The often extreme dynamics of the most effective songs keeps things interesting and moving. However, this record is 2 to 3 songs too long. There are a number of songs in which Lane sings entirely in falsetto with that marching thumping percussion made popular by Mumford and Sons and Imagine Dragons. These songs, all sequenced together in the middle of the album, are too similar and each song loses definition as a result. Although all good songs, a few should have been trimmed to make a more complete and concise album experience.
Michael Lane is a passionate singer and songwriter. On the solo guitar/voice live in the studio track “Stormy Weather” Lane shows off how he can testify a song. Lane sounds great on the multi-tracked overdubbed performance on the rest of the record. But, “Stormy Weather” shows why he is a star. More of this passion and in the moment power will help Lane push his music through to a new level.