Lambchop are reassuring. They have always been there. I remember reading about them in Melody Maker, way back in my school days, wondering about all those people in the photo, crammed in that room. I remember watching them live many years later, with my wife. They have always been there. And I hope they always will.
There is a kindness to Lambchop. I’m not sure kindness is a word I would often apply to music. I’m not sure how to define it. Perhaps it is in that reassurance. Maybe in the whispered vocal, maybe in something more. They aren’t your normal Rock Band.
There is a gentleness to Lambchop. I’m not sure gentleness is a word I would often apply to music. At least not to nominally Rock Music. It is not just in the precision. Or in the space. But in how that precision and that space is applied. Gentle doesn’t mean hesitant. It just means a different intention. To be gentle you need to know what you’re doing.
Lambchop still matter. They could have just split up in 2003, and reunited a couple of years ago to play a load of reunion tours. But they keep working. They have always been there. And they have always kept moving. Sometimes imperceptibly, but always meaningfully. Still challenging. Still.
A band this far into their career shouldn’t be making music this vital. Or this experimental. Yet an experimentalism with heart. Experimentalism with kindness and gentleness and meaning. The Hustle is an astonishing piece of work. Thank goodness they are still making music this vital.
I can’t think of many artists, many bands, that can create an 18 minute piece of music that isn’t bloated, that doesn’t drag. But perhaps I’m just thinking of all those Rock Bands. Lambchop transcend that. In spirit, they are more classical, more jazz, more *insert phrase for electronic music that isn’t patronising or vague or just awful*. In spirit. Sometimes in sound. But definitely in spirit.
I can’t pin Lambchop down. They are reassuring. There is a comfort in familiarity. And yet they change. The familiarity is in the feeling of recognising it is Lambchop but failing to pin them down, failing to define them, failing to explain them. Familiarity and reassurance that they are, and always will be, just out of reach. But always there.
The Hustle is all this and none of this. I just don’t know.
I don’t love everything Lambchop have done (but I really, really love their ‘OH, Ohio’ album, for reasons I can’t really explain – it’s not like it’s massively different from their other work); this new track sound great, though.
Funny thing with Lambchop is they rarely make a grand departure, and are nearly always recognisably themselves, yet some albums resonate a lot more than others. I think there is sometimes a fine line between creating something subtle and affecting, and creating something that just floats and drifts a bit.