Lamb Between Darkness and Wonder
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Bill Laswell
The Changelings

The British pop act known as Lamb has certainly evolved over the years. Their first album was heavy in dub, trip-hop, and drum and bass influences and offered a diverse and unique experience. As time has progressed, these influences have subsided, but not to the point of turning the band into a derivative pop act, like many of the ones that now fill the airwaves. With Between Darkness and Wonder, Lamb explores a more somber and reserved tone to their work.

Even more reserved and less upbeat than usual, Lamb still retains a lot of their musical signatures. Beats are electronic and have a nice tempo to them. Bass lines are varied in style and tone and go well with the beats and Lou Robinson's passionate, yet nasally, voice. Present are a lot of musical tones and instruments, which work to build a nice catalog of sound in the album.

The album begins with a lengthy soundscape in Darkness. The track is permeated in popping tones and sounds that overlap and build as Lou softly introduces her voice into the mix. While it may come off unorganized, the buildup is calculated. Stronger follows, offering a more mainstream sound. The tempo is casual and grows in passion as the track reaches it's end. Sugar 5 feels more like older Lamb, with a deep toned bass line that's catchy, flowing into a layered vocal/string chorus. It's a sweet track that really stands out on this album.

This is followed by Angelica an instrumental heavy in piano and synth. The rolling tones of the keys brings the flow of the track along nicely. After this, Till The Clouds Clear comes across as a more standard pop tune, not really doing anything special. Wonder comes after this and really works hard to draw the listener in. Lou's tone is so laid back, one can't help but feel relaxed.

Sun is one of the more upbeat offerings, bobbing addictively at the listener. Composed of strings and voice, Learn brings the mood back down. Please returns to a more standard pop influence, though far more reserved and quiet. Open Up shows hints of previous albums, with a mild tempo beat and a more energetic vocal presence. Hearts and Flowers completes the album on a down note, drawing the listener into a dark and depressing offering.

Between Darkness and Wonder isn't a bad album by any stretch, but it does manage to falter into convention a few times. Fans of Lamb may be put off by how low-tone and laid back this album is, but it still manages to have a few gems hidden in the track listing.

- - Kinderfeld

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