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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lambchop - OH (Ohio)

If you didn`t like Lambchop`s last nine albums then the odds are this one isn`t going to change your mind. If you are, like me, a fan then their latest release may be one of their best yet. One of the things I respect most about this Nashville-based band is that they go seamlessly from Blues to Country to Folk to Jazz and Rock without breaking a sweat.

Lambchop through the years has consisted of a large collective of musicians (as many as twenty three members on previous albums) but always focused around front man Kurt Wagner. His distinctive songwriting is very minimalistic but, setting him apart from other minimalist songwriters, is the large group of backing musicians and the range of instruments and styles that come with having such a diverse collection of players. Wagner`s voice (that is already hit or miss to some) is used very well here, sometimes as background and sometimes as the main driving force. The opening track `Ohio` kicks off with a sweet piano and guitar melody then adds background vocals that accompany Wagner as he sings one of my favorite lines on the album `green doesn`t matter when you`re blue`.

Some of the more upbeat songs like the awesomely titled `National Talk Like a Pirate Day`, `I`m Thinking of a Number (Between 1 and 2)` and `Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King Jr.` provide a nice change of pace for the mostly laid back album. In the song `A Hold Of You` Wagner sings (and talks) of a pencil and makes it sound deep and interesting with lyrics like `It looks like others in our hands/It writes crazy things instead/It can make a list or describe a thought/Can draw a line or route/But it can`t make you respond to this.`

Musically, for Lampchop fans, this album may be nothing new but, of all the Indie Folk that has been released lately, this definitely rises to the top. After almost twenty years in the music business Lampchop have honed their skills and produced an album that is highly recommended.

8 out of 10

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