Lambchop: What Another Man Spills

Lambchop: What Another Man Spills

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Lambchop

Album: What Another Man Spills
Label: Merge
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Lambchop

Album: What Another Man Spills
Label: Merge

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Nashville's Lambchop is not as weird as many make it out to be. Much of the band's reputation stems from singer Kurt Wagner's voice, a low rumble with a hint of a Southern accent that's cartoonish as often as it's effective. Lambchop isn't much of a country band, either: The group's striking debut (How I Quit Smoking), with its slide guitars and pretty melodies, got Lambchop pegged as the most "alt" of all alt-country acts, but Lambchop's music has since moved in a more soulful direction. The band may have successfully evolved from a sort of chamber-country group into a smoky soul outfit, but Lambchop isn't likely to lose the "weird" tag any time soon. Much like its predecessor, Thriller, What Another Man Spills is split between covers and Wagner's moody originals; the record could easily be a product of the same sessions that produced Thriller. Wagner and crew pay tribute to songwriters as disparate as Curtis Mayfield ("Give Me Your Love (Love Song)") and James McNew (of Yo La Tengo and Dump; he contributes "It's Not Alright"), and, as on Thriller, Wagner rescues a pair of songs from East River Pipe's F.M. Cornog, who is sadly lost somewhere in major-label hell. As usual, Lambchop is a full-on low-key orchestra (14 members strong, excluding special guests and strings), a controlled mess of sonic elements ranging from chiming percussion to mournful guitars to restrained, mostly brushed drums. There's something perpetually askew in Lambchop, but those eccentricities, which would hamper any other band, only serve to build its unique character. It's impossible to tell just where Lambchop might land next, and that restlessness is refreshing.

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