12 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Lambchop has proven itself a strikingly eclectic outfit defying easy classification. The band reconfigures a host of American genres (from cocktail jazz to ‘60s garage rock) into a self-contained mythological universe tinged with melancholy humor. 2008’s OH (Ohio) is firmly within the Lambchop tradition of sparsely-defined songs dressed up in vaguely unsettling arrangements, with singer/songwriter Kurt Wagner’s mumbling presence at the center. The tracks are somewhat more inviting to the uninitiated than past offerings — “Please Rise” and “Popeye,” for instance, are sung by Wagner with greater attention to clarity. “National Talk Like a Pirate Day” and the title tune bob along on shimmering rhythmic eddies, lapping at the far shores of soft rock. On “Of Raymond” and “Slipped Dissolved and Loosed,” Wagner brings to mind a tranquilized Gordon Lightfoot. Lambchop’s elliptical whimsy comes through in “Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King,” while “Popeye” shows their ability to capture foggy textures of emotion in words and sound. Though still challenging to conventional tastes, OH (Ohio) finds this veteran oddball act taking gingerly steps towards greater accessibility.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Lambchop has proven itself a strikingly eclectic outfit defying easy classification. The band reconfigures a host of American genres (from cocktail jazz to ‘60s garage rock) into a self-contained mythological universe tinged with melancholy humor. 2008’s OH (Ohio) is firmly within the Lambchop tradition of sparsely-defined songs dressed up in vaguely unsettling arrangements, with singer/songwriter Kurt Wagner’s mumbling presence at the center. The tracks are somewhat more inviting to the uninitiated than past offerings — “Please Rise” and “Popeye,” for instance, are sung by Wagner with greater attention to clarity. “National Talk Like a Pirate Day” and the title tune bob along on shimmering rhythmic eddies, lapping at the far shores of soft rock. On “Of Raymond” and “Slipped Dissolved and Loosed,” Wagner brings to mind a tranquilized Gordon Lightfoot. Lambchop’s elliptical whimsy comes through in “Sharing a Gibson with Martin Luther King,” while “Popeye” shows their ability to capture foggy textures of emotion in words and sound. Though still challenging to conventional tastes, OH (Ohio) finds this veteran oddball act taking gingerly steps towards greater accessibility.

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