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Lambchop | Awcmon/Noyoucmon (City Slang)
The word 'timbre' seems especially apt when describing Kurt Wagner's voice, considering how the inhalation of wood dust from his old day job seems to have deepened it. When it comes growling softly in on Four Pounds In Two Days you feel at home. He's solid and dependable in his clipped, breathy style and he anchors the song (and disc one) after the jauntiness of Being Tyler has introduced things. From here on, it's prime Lambchop territory, back to the ensemble days, full strings and more musicians than should be legal. Along the way they indulge in some more swinging instrumentals, some brooding slow waltzes and some downright wonderful moments, as the handily titled Each Time I Bring It Up It Seems To Bring You Down proves. Hell, they almost rock out on Timothy B. Schmidt before hushing back down for Women Help Create The Kind Of Men They Despise. 'Aw C'mon' closes with Wagner telling us "we are lucky to be completely interactive" as if Radiohead had gone Alt. Country.
Another snappy instrumental theme starts 'NoYouC'mon', an overture for a Sunrise before the jazzy moodiness of Low Ambition. It's not until Nothing Adventurous Please that anything adventurous happens. A howl, fuzzy guitars and a complete upping of pace. Yes, they rock! (At least for a while. The following The Problem is as slow as the previous track was fast). Shang A Dang Dang sounds like a gate-crashing out-take before Under A Dream Of A Lie reminds you this isn't a b-sides comp. There are further ups and down, experimentation and silliness (see The Gusher's Black Sabbath stylings) before The Producer wraps things up with a toe-tapping finale.
Devoted 'Chop fans won't be too surprised by the oddities and newcomers will hopefully be intrigued. No doubt many will argue over which disk is best and if there should have been just the one, but whichever way you look at it, it's a Lambchop record(s) and a good example of why people love them. It's lush, sweet, chilling, loud, soft, bleak, miserable, chirpy and loads more besides, even if the title does sound like a Father Ted catchphrase.

Laurence Arnold
March-April 2004