Album review: YOGI LANG – A Way Out Of Here

Yogi Lang - A Way Out Of Here

Gentle Art Of Music  [Release date: 08.11.19]

Although probably a new name to those not in the know, Yogi Lang’s day job is as vocalist and front-man for exceptional German progressive rock luminaries RPWL (he’s the ‘L’).

He’s flown solo before in 2010 with the well-received, but under the radar, ‘No Decoder’ and it’s testament to RPWL’s burgeoning success that it has taken ten years for album number two to arrive.

So has it been worth the wait? Of course it has.

As part of RPWL’s heady mix of musical brilliance combined with thought-provoking, intelligent lyrics, Lang has played a major role in positioning the band at the forefront of European progressive rock.

As with all solo albums, the first question asked is ‘does this sound like RPWL?’

The answer, of course, is yes – to a degree, but despite obvious similarities, there are so many divergent influences at play here that the album comfortably stands on its own two feet.

Things kick off, and really kick off, with ‘Move On’ – its ten minutes of good cop, bad cop quiet vocals set against kick-ass rifferama coupled with an anthemic chorus, sets out what sounds like the album’s progressive rock credentials.

This proves to be a bit of a red herring as a nice, funky guitar riff ushers in the title track which, with drums well up in the mix together with female backing vocals, gives off a distinctly 80’s vibe.

The lovely arpeggio guitar riff of the shimmering ‘Shine On Me’ brings to mind R.E.M.’s classic ‘Everybody Hurts’ and the appearance of Kalle Wallner’s distinctive guitar solo on ‘Don’t Confuse Life With A Thought’ takes things back to RPWL.

‘Love Is All Around’ (not that one) is, like the acoustic guitar-led ‘Freedom Of The Day’, a great tune with insightful lyrics.

Which leads us into the real paradox of ‘Early Morning Light’ – an exceptional instrumental which, with its undeniable Pink Floyd tropes and Gilmouresque guitaring from  Torsten Weber, could easily have passed muster on ‘The Endless River’ – but not a word from Yogi…

The pedal steel guitar of Klaus Reichart is to the fore on ‘The Sound Of The Ocean’ (but not in the whining way so beloved of country and western devotees) and things finish a little disappointingly with the piano-led ‘I’ll Be There For You’ (not that one) – the occasionally trite lyrics (“when you need me I’ll be there for you”) – jarring with the discerning libretto elsewhere.

Nonetheless, ‘A Way Out Of Here’ is a hugely satisfying solo effort from Yogi Lang who has written and produced the whole shebang.

Mention must be made of the exceptional recording – with the aforementioned drumming of Stephan Treutter to the fore and clear separation of the instrumentation making the music charge out of the speakers.

Very impressive album – but then I’d expect nothing less.  ****

Review by Alan Jones

PS: By the way, ‘A Way Out Of Here’ is released a week before RPWL’s fabulous live album ‘Live From Outer Space’ and you can see that review here:

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