Sad But True  –  Louie Lahana (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Well, that’s interesting! I have, over the years of reviewing music, got used to picking apart songs to see what manner of cross-genre, gene splicing an artist has used to try to build a new sound. Generally it’s the usual pop with rock, indie with folk, dance with R&B, tried and tested fusions that, more often than not, deliver familiar results. The braver souls may try to fuse less expected genres and the results are rarely pleasant. Louie Lahana is the exception to this though and he brings so many musical strands garnered from all over the musical map it is hard to know if this isn’t actually a whole new genre in its own right.

At its core it is hip-hop riding a folk musical vehicle…see, different already…urban grooves built from pastoral acoustica, add to that perfect pop sensibilities, lilting half-heard violins wafting gently past on the air, breezy brass and some exceedingly lush harmony vocals and you have something that shouldn’t work but ends up being the exception that proves the rule. The rule being, conducting strange sonic experiments in studio-labs late at night might seem like a good idea but rarely will you end up with something this inspired. Most will end up with a lumbering Frankenstein’s monster…”It’s Alive!”…but barely,  rather than such a sublime creation as this.

And it isn’t just musically astute, the lyrics also paint wonderful scenes and scenarios from the artist’s time spent living in Greenwich Village a couple of decades ago and is able to conjure the hustle and hassle of city life, of love and longing, of nostalgia and fond memories vividly. 

Even if you didn’t lift the bonnet and look at the mechanics of what actually powers this musical machine, Sad But True would be a great song, sonically lush, groovesome, memorable and infectious, but as someone interested in how such things work, a glimpse at that engine, a quick scan of what it is actually driven by and how it has been sonically engineered makes the song even more impressive.

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