Lambchop - Mr M
Album Review

Lambchop – Mr M

I didn’t know who Lambchop were. There, I said it. I hadn’t heard of the band one music site calls “arguably the most consistently brilliant and unique American group to emerge during the 1990s”. One muso friend upon hearing this confession stated he was “more than mildly disgusted”. But, yes, Mr M is my introduction to Lambchop.

And what a pleasure it is to meet them. What a beautiful album this is. Sad, soft and slow, frontman and songwriter Kurt Wagner’s gruff voice shuffles gently through a collection of songs about love, life and loss. He sings with a kind of wistfulness combined with resigned contentment that perhaps only someone who’s lived long enough to release 11 albums can.

Strings feature strongly and poignantly in this album – proper crooner-style strings, alongside swelling black-and-white-movie backing vocals. They’re unashamedly romantic and nostalgic. But when combined with Wagner’s minimalist approach and prosaic lyrics – with lines about taking down the Christmas lights or cleaning the coffee maker – the effect is a kind of fond realism. It’s an album about love, but not the kind of love you see in the movies. It makes me think of an old couple, old friends, sitting on the porch, remembering the days they used to dance, and bickering occasionally.

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