A peripatetic lifestyle that found Lauren Hoffman visiting Australia, India, and Colorado, among other places, appears to have affected her muse in the four years since her third album, Choreography, as can be heard on her fourth, Interplanetary Traveler, which the Virginia native recorded in Israel with co-producer/co-arranger/multi-instrumentalist Assay Ayalon. If not actually an "interplanetary" traveler, she has been an international one, and as she extrapolates that into a romantic science-fiction scenario on the leadoff title track, she makes it clear that this is not the life she planned, even if it is one she has embraced. "When I took the job I was too young to know/What I would grow up to be," she acknowledges, and in follow-up songs she considers the advantages and disadvantages of a love commitment that demands a degree of "Surrender" as well as some moving around. Eventually, she seems to accept the situation, but she has learned from her travels, and they lead her to ponder the possibilities of international understanding on the socially conscious "In This Life." By the end, she is back at home, and as she makes clear in the photograph of her holding her new baby, ready to stay a while. Hoffman sings about this geographical and emotional journey in a calm, lilting voice, usually double-tracked, over gentle, supportive folk-rock arrangements. Whatever the complexities of life, love, and moving around, the sound of her music reassures her listeners that she will figure things out at last.
Interplanetary Traveler Review
by William Ruhlmann