Lambchop: The Bible (Merge) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, December 6th, 2022  

Lambchop

The Bible

Merge

Oct 04, 2022 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Last year’s Showtunes found Kurt Wagner in mail away mode working remotely with a handful of artists. The follow-up Lambchop album finds Wagner with beat maker Twit One, Poliça’s Ryan Olson, and Fog’s Andrew Broder back on board, but the epically titled album also comes with an innumerable cast of collaborators. Notably, Paul Niehaus’ steel guitar work returns in a gorgeous interplay with Broder’s piano on “Dylan at the Mousetrap,” that concludes with a wash of laconic Beach Boys’ harmonies. Broder’s piano playing throughout the album is a marvel in and of itself.

But the true standouts here are the opening “His Song is Sung” and the later “A Major Minor Drag.” Wagner’s unique brand of alchemy creates a synthesis of seemingly incongruous parts, and coaxes beautifully composed works from them. “His Song is Sung” opens with a swell of sweeping strings and dirge like piano notes before we first hear a seriously toned Wagner through a slightly tweaked AutoTune filter. But the song morphs mid-way through, pushed by a staccato strafe of horns and creaky beats into a momentous celebratory moment. Always good for a few new rabbits from the hat, the Twin Cities’ Bells of the Lakes handbell ensemble joins in on “A Major Minor Drag,” with the song further colored up by harp and synths as it goes.

Elsewhere, the funk/disco stylings of “Little Black Boxes” and gospel tinged “Police Dog Blues,” where Wagner is joined by the soulful singing of Madison Hallman, feel more straightforward and therefore a little less interesting than most of what The Bible has on offer. Wagner drops some fatalistic lines over the course of the album. “His Song is Sung” gives us the twist on the title, “my song is sung,” and “A Major Minor Drag,” the more tongue-in-cheek “I’ll miss the gift of gab.” But far from the book on which The Bible takes its name, there are no signs of the end times for Lambchop. Wagner seems literally incapable of running out of ideas, and The Bible has plenty of good ones. (www.lambchop.net)

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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