(Axster Bingham) by Michael Gallucci
Singer-songwriter Ryan Bingham's big break came three years ago, when a handful of his songs anchored Jeff Bridges' Oscar-winning movie Crazy Heart. He followed that up a year later with an album that explored America's, and Americana's, landscape with broad Springsteenian strokes. On his fourth and most ambitious LP, the 31-year-old New Mexican fine-tunes his observations, while stretching his narrative range: Several songs on Tomorrowland clock in at six and eight minutes, including the rambling call-to-arms "Rising of the Ghetto." Bingham still makes room for simpler songs, like the barnstorming "Heart of Rhythm," from time to time. But mostly the overlong Tomorrowland is resolute, a little self-righteous, and a whole lotta angry. On the album's opening cut "Beg for Broken Legs," he sings "I ain't gonna bite my tongue." It's a statement of purpose.