Lamb What Sound
Also Try
Bill Laswell
The Changelings

Lamb's long-awaited follow-up to Fear of Fours has finally made it to the States, a wait made ever more lengthy by the fact that it was already available in the U.K. and was available for purchase if you had a good import store in your area. Rather than paying the hefty import price (I saw it going for as much as $35), Koch Records finally made a domestic release of the duo's third album.

The two-piece, consisting of vocalist/musician Andy Barlow and musician Lou Rhodes, manage to create a musical personality that is brought together from many sources. Techno, string arrangements and even groove-heavy drum and bass are major components of their music. Andy Barlow's vocals add a fine degree of personality that help set the act apart from the rest of the pack. While she exhibits a fine degree of passion and range, the tonal quality of her voice is so distinct, you won't mistake her for anyone else.

The opening title track is a soft mood piece composed largely of Barlow's vocals and a slowly paced string arrangement that builds, with the aid of an oddly timed beat towards the end. The following track, One, is a magnificent piece of emotion with a soft, yet steady pace to it. Sweet is a fine addition, with it's upbeat tempo and funk-heavy bass-work. The fifth track, Scratch Bass, is an offbeat instrumental that just seems to work with the tone of the rest of the album, even though it introduces scratch-work and more heavy drum-and-bass themes. Songs like I Cry, Heaven and Gabriel are soft, casual affairs that present a slower, more timid pace to the album.

The Deluxe version of this album comes with four free bonus tracks and a free DVD. Included with the bonus tracks are two remixes of Gabriel. The MJ Cole remix feels pretty far from the original as it's more dance heavy in execution. The Nellee Hooper Mix is more along the lines of the original, but does offer new elements for good measure. The DVD has videos for Gabriel and Sweet, plus comes with remixes of Trans Fatty Acid, Cottonwool, Sweet and Heaven. The inclusion of the first two tracks on the DVD only goes to show how much better the debut album still is in comparison.

What Lamb really succeeds in is creating a level of charm and emotion in their music, helped largely by Barlow's vocals. None of the music is over-the-top loud or garish, but impresses through its' casualness. In comparison to their older work, What Sound is a good album, but still lacks the offbeat charm and personality of the first two albums. But, if you're looking for something off the beaten path, do check this album out as it still in a quality product.

- - Kinderfeld

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