Few music scenes in the American underground are as iconic nor as recognizable as the country circuit, and while Nashville itself has been falling short of the success that its counterparts have been enjoying lately, it’s presenting audiences with quite the interesting new sound in Lan Law’s “Hillbilly Legal” this April. Not overtly country but boasting more of an edge than most bucolic circles will allow for, “Hillbilly Legal” is one-part outlaw and another part radio-ready rhythm, thus making it an intriguing cocktail of its composers’ hometown roots while staying away from throwback territory.
Though most of the focus in the mix is being directed towards the lead vocal, I don’t think this is a negative feature at all – the opposite. There’s a potency to the singer’s performance in this track that exceeds all of the instrumental output behind him from beginning to end, and while I’ve never been one to put the verse ahead of the virtuosity of a collective band, this is an instance in which it makes a lot more sense to do so. Lan Law isn’t trying to fit in with the mainstream narrative; they’re making their own here, which is commendable, to say the least.
Fluidity is key to making a track like this one appealing to listeners of both country and pop persuasions, and it’s undeniably one of the first elements I noticed frequently when I first sat down with “Hillbilly Legal” this month. The strings are cohesive with the percussion, and yet there isn’t any black-and-white discordance breaking the beat away from the melodic foundation at the core of harmony. I’m impressed by the detail here and wasn’t thinking I would find as much so early on in the career Lan Law has fashioned for themselves.
Every element in this mix is offering us some sense of emotionality in whatever capacity possible, and between the guitar and vocal parts alone, I think there’s a hurricane of passion that almost any listener will be deeply affected by. Execution is the difference maker in country’s most memorable studs and duds, and in “Hillbilly Legal,” we’re seeing a clean-cut Lan Law that sounds more hungry for our approval than ever before. They know who they want to please and how they want to do it, which is more than I can say for a lot of their rivals.
Despite being together for only a brief amount of time, it’s more than obvious to me that Lan Law is destined to do some big things together. Their local likely won’t have the ability to contain the growth they experience in the next year as they find their footing in the hierarchy of independent country bands and solo artists the same, but for the time being, I would recommend those who follow the genre make a point of checking out their new single “Hillbilly Legal.” It’s a smooth way of getting to know their sound, and I think critics around the underground are going to share my sentiments.