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Lambchop - 'This (is what I wanted to tell you)' (Album Review)

Tuesday, 26 March 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: Jo Bongard

Kurt Wagner’s gang of alt-country stalwarts, Lambchop, are back for a 14th studio album—they skipped number 13 due to superstition. As with 2016’s ‘Flotus’, the Nashville band use electronic arrangements to accompany Wagner’s distinctive deadpan drawl, and broadly, it works well.

On 'This (is what I wanted to tell you)', the low-slung vocal melodies and withdrawn lyricism is tempered and embossed by autotune, and the guitars—often so central to Lambchop’s sound—feel hypnotic in their laconic playing. It is an album of intellectual stillness that walks and skips occasionally towards a kind of lo-fi sleep state.

Stand-out tracks include Everything for You, a satisfying shuffler that uses terse bass synth patterns to build a floating melodic character. Wagner’s harmonised crooning adds to this marvellous piece of music, full of nuance and complicated, weather-beaten emotions.

Similarly The December-ish You and The New You Isn’t You Anymore are solid night-capping tunes—balanced, quiet and cleansing. They employ some of the same electro-softness used on Roxy Music’s ‘Avalon’ or Radiohead’s ‘The King of Limbs’: evasive tonality, techy drum patches and and indirect, impressionistic lyrics.

That said, Wagner is no Bryan Ferry or Thom Yorke, and while Lambchop have lived gloriously outside of the mainstream for their 30 years, there is a commitment to the album’s lo-fi sound here that could easily be called boring.

As with much of Lambchop’s output, you may need to be in a certain mood to get through it, otherwise 'This (is what I wanted to tell you)' can fade into background music. However, when the songs hit, this is a highly therapeutic record.

Lambchop Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sun April 21 2019 - LONDON EartH (Evolutionary Arts Hackney)

Click here to compare & buy Lambchop Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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