Album Review: Al Berman - 'Floating Wilderness'
Al Berman is an incredibly unique musician, and this quality shows through very prominently on his debut album Floating Wilderness. Composed of ten original songs, Floating Wilderness is influenced by numerous styles and genres of music. The album’s title track draws from 90’s alternative rock, “Raise Yourself” has the swagger of a modern soul ballad, and “Hot Air Balloon (Ragtime Gal),” as it’s titles would suggest, focuses on ragtime traditions to build interesting chord changes and constantly moving melody.
Throughout the Floating Wilderness, Berman proves himself to be a natural-born storyteller. He crafts complex characters throughout songs such as “Run Away,” “Lune,” and “The Ballad of Crotchety Powns,” with ease, and impressively is able to give these characters depth in the span of 2 to 3 minute songs.
When Berman isn’t building upon the fictional characters in Floating Wilderness, he spends time building an emotional relationship with his audience. His more tender songs, like “Life,” and “Reminded of You,” are filled with deeply personal and emotional experiences. These songs chronicle lost love and lost innocence, and Berman does a good job of expressing universal feelings in a relatable way.
Though much of the album is based around serious subject matter, Floating Wilderness’s final track shows off Berman’s keen sense of humor. In a song filled with synthetic instruments and considerable fanfare, Berman bids his audience “Goodbye,” and assures them that his next album isn’t too far behind. Al Berman’s got a style all his own, and this album is for any listener who’s looking for something they’ve never heard before.