LAMBCHOP – ” Showtunes “

Posted: October 17, 2021 in MUSIC

Lambchop began in the 1990s, at the time pronouncing itself “Nashville’s most fucked-up country band.” Provocative it may have been, but the description made sense: at the heart of all that ruckus was a band at once defying and embracing the musical legacy of its hometown.

Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner can’t play piano. So for Lambchop’s 15th studio album – the third in this Americana artist’s recent experiments in electronics – he transposed music he had written on the guitar on to a midi keyboard. The result is “Showtunes”, an album whose title suggests razzmatazz but delivers Wagner’s customary laid-back profundity with well placed digital embellishments.

Showtunes” is indelibly a Lambchop album, a set of songs that references the legacy of American song writing from inside a vat of shimmering treacle. The pace is slow but spacious, giving rise to a pair of instrumental meditations and a seven-minute track, “Fuku“, whose percussive pops, blithe piano motif and bittersweet brass accretes into a quasi-standard pondering the imperfect nature of love. Drop C uses cut-up found sound in a more staticky way, and Blue Leo essays some disorienting vocal manipulations that are perhaps too reminiscent of the latterday Bon Iver. “Showtunes” is much stronger, however, when Wagner layers its disparate elements more subtly – leaning into its limpid jazz horns and electronic atmospheres, with just the distant memory of an opera singer punctuating The Last Benedict.

Showtunes” is Lambchop’s follow-up to 2019’s “This (is what I wanted to tell you)”. Lambchop mastermind Kurt Wagner recorded the album remotely with Yo La Tengo’s James McNew, Ryan Olson, co-producer and engineer Jeremy Ferguson, horn player and arranger CJ Camerieri, and Cologne DJ Twit One.

Released May 21st, 2021

Ryan Olson: horn production and rearrangements, sound manipulation.
C.J. Camerieri: horns and arrangements.
Andrew Broder: grand piano and turntables.
James McNew: upright bass.
Twit One: beats.
Kurt Wagner: vocals, MIDI piano, guitar, composition and editing.

Jeremy Ferguson: a snare drum.
Eric Slick: a drum pass.

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