Lambchop - This (is what I wanted to tell you) - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

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

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2019-03-22
Lambchop - This (is what I wanted to tell you)
Lambchop - This (is what I wanted to tell you)

Not sure how and why, but Kurt Wagner is probably still one of the biggest musical archivists around and it definitely shows in the music he creates. It could be from his childhood when he first heard the music itself, or it could be those long hours placing somebody’s wooden or laminate floors around Nashville, even when he was a rising artist in the mid-Nineties when the first Lambchop albums started cropping up.

Along the way, Wagner never let anybody pigeonhole his music into any definitive genre - Alt-country, soul, jazz, even ambient electronics, he was always willing, and certainly able to throw a wrench into the mix. Literally. That includes the ever-shifting Lambchop lineup - anywhere and anytime between one and twelve. Whatever the music demanded at a time.

To that effect, This (is what I wanted to tell you), the latest Lambchop album is no exception. This time around, Wagner places the accent on his always charged lyrical explorations, placing them into a context of the times we live in. "Picture yourself on a boat on a river, with tangerine trees and marmalade skies… This is not that,” says Wagner about the album in his usual sardonic style.

And it is these times that dominate the album It is not the first time that Wagner used vocoder to modify his voice, but in doing that, he always left room for his voice to be recognisable, even more so here, where lines like “The news was fake, the drugs were real,” “Fell asleep during Vietnam,” crop up throughout the eight songs here.

The music itself is the usual combination of everything that suits Wagner’s fancy at the time, like the slick soul stylings of “Everything for you”, or the ambient jazz leanings of “The lasting last of you”.

The compositional process on This was a collaboration with his old/new band member Matthew McCaughan, who also played for Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger. The process involved either Wagner sending McCaughan vocals to make compositions on his analogue synths or the other way around - McCaughan sending loose musical ideas to Wagner to further work on.

What we get is what such a process sounds like - a set of musical and lyrical ideas pieced together like kaleidoscope crystals that were given space to fall freely, and fall in exactly the right space they did.

FLOTUS, Lambchop’s previous, practically all-ambient effort was received either with complete joy or complete consternation. A similar fate I expect awaits This. In the end, though, it will have the same fate as practically every Lambchop album to date - it will be considered a classic or very close to one.

Comments (1)

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I was pleasantly surprised with this one, having never listened to Lambchop. I'll be digging into his previous work but I do like the autotune'd effect, as unpopular as it might be to some. I'm a big fan of 22 A Million by Bon Iver.

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