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Between Darkness and Wonder

Lamb

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Album Review

Once the most intriguing act fusing electronica with singer/songwriter pop, Lamb unfortunately impress much less on their fourth album than they did in the past. While Louise Rhodes' vocals still lie on the acceptable side of eccentric, Andy Barlow's productions have been defanged; no longer surprising and innovative, they exist as merely proper frameworks for the songs. The long roster here of Pro Tools engineers and studio players makes much of the difference, adding a next-generation sound to the work but eliminating the freshness Lamb productions used to possess. A pair of introspective, experimental pieces ("Darkness," "Stronger") make for a brilliant beginning, but the rest of the record includes a few tender acoustic ballads ("Angelica" is the best) that barely profit from the programmed percussion, and a compelling but nearly meaningless update of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune." Between Darkness and Wonder is hardly a tragedy in Lamb's discography, but the duo's longtime ability to sacrifice neither pop smarts nor production bite was a hallmark that no other act could lay claim to.

Biography

Formed: 1994 in Manchester, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Mancunian downtempo and drum'n'bass duo Lamb earned notice as one of the first groups to add a lyrics-based vocalist to steadfastly jungle-based productions. Unlike other vocal-based groups (such as Everything But the Girl and the Sneaker Pimps) who dabbled in rolling breaks as a quiet accompaniment to a clearly dominant vocal lead, Lamb dwell in brash musical contrasts and, occasionally, contradictions that make their songs as musically complex and exploratory as they are vocally catchy. Formed...
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Between Darkness and Wonder, Lamb
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