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.