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OH (Ohio)

Lambchop

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Album Review

Lambchop may have begun life as "Nashville's most f****d up country band," but with the passage of time the group's country leanings have slowly but surely faded away, and they've grown into perhaps the most singularly pleasurable pop band of their day, mastering a sound that embraces the broad sonic palate of chamber pop and the ambitious experimentalism of indie rock without losing touch with the organic, human voice that informed their early work. OH (Ohio) is Lambchop's tenth proper album, and it finds this band in masterful form; Kurt Wagner and his seven accompanists (with two additional musicians helping out with horns and woodwinds) bring a dazzling sense of grace, balance, and drama to the melodies, and while one senses the size of the ensemble while listening to these songs, there's no clutter or waste in the arrangements, and Lambchop is able to generate a compelling emotional immediacy no matter how broad their musical canvas. While no one will ever accuse Wagner of having a master's vocal range, his plaintive mumbles and mutterings have evolved into a remarkably expressive instrument, projecting a palpable range of hurt, longing, and conviction through his cryptic but genuinely fascinating lyrics. There isn't much in the way of a coherent narrative in songs like "National Talk Like a Pirate Day" or "Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King Jr.," but Wagner communicates with a verbal expressionism that's strong and telling, and he knows how to make his songs work with this gifted band. And just as Michael Peed's cover paintings offer eccentric but potent images of passion and desire, OH (Ohio) is a set of songs that speak about love with a strength that belies their nuanced elegance, and when Lambchop close out the set with a thoughtful and genuine interpretation of the old Don Williams' hit "I Believe in You," it's a gentle reinforcement of all that's gone before on the disc. OH (Ohio) is a singular accomplishment, and it's hard to imagine anyone but Lambchop doing this so well — or even imagining it at all.

Customer Reviews

top class melodies

new romantic with an amazing voice and melody!!!

Biography

Formed: 1993 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Alternative

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

Touted as "Nashville's most f*cked-up country band" by their label Merge Records, Lambchop was arguably the most consistently brilliant and unique American group to emerge during the 1990s. Their unclassifiable hybrid of country, soul, jazz, and avant-garde noise seemed at one time or another to drink from every conceivable tributary of contemporary music, its Baroque beauty all held together by the surreal lyrical wit and droll vocal presence of frontman Kurt Wagner. Although Lambchop's ever-rotating...
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OH (Ohio), Lambchop
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