Artists of the week: Lambchop
There are some misconceptions in saying that Lambchop is the best alternative country American band to emerge during the 1990s. First, over the course of a two-decade plus career, their music has always been hybrid, an elegant mixture of folk, soul, jazz, post-rock, lounge music and avant-gard noise. Second, Lambchop is not a band, but a man aided by a large and fluid group of talented musicians. Third, you can pretty much say they have been one of the best American bands tout court: the melodic yet understated songwriting style of Kurt Wagner plus his subtle and ambiguous lyrics have produced twelve pristine albums, which include two or three absolute classics such as How I Quit Smoking (1996), Nixon (2000) and the criminally underrated OH (Ohio) (2008).
Their fabulous new album, Flotus, is a directly informed by Kurt Wagner electronic side project HeCTA and is by far the most restrained and spare album of his career. Not a single sound of Country can be heard in the new record full of novelties: Auto-Tuned vocals, synthesizers and drum machines. The resulting spectral melodies are beautifully soothing and the album is bookended by two epic tracks that should immediately be ranked amongst the best songs of the year: the twelve-minute hypnotizing “In Care of 8675309” and the eighteen-minute slow-building “The Hustle”.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.