on April 12, 2002
If you are interested in Lamb, be sure to give this CD a listen. I was introduced to Lamb via "Fear of Fours," but this debut is far more intricate. But, by all means, buy them both, but if you can (or will) buy only one Lamb CD, this should be it. "Fear of Fours" is better as a second course, since the evolution of a pair using live instruments, that's right--cello, drums, etc., for trip-hop purposes is enough to warrant a long listen.
The evolution of the group becomes quite clear when one compares first tracks on "Lamb" and "Fear of Fours." "Lamb's" opening track is nothing short of amazing ("Lusty" for the uninitiated). The quick-break beat will amaze you and make you wish the accelerator in your car would go just a little bit further down, but, to think that this track will merely aid in teenage angst and accrual of speeding tickets is a misnomer, it fits just as well playing low in a room fit for long conversations or mutually-consenting adult acrobatics.
A great album. It should be the first "Lamb" to grace your shelves.
on December 27, 2001
The magic of this album resides perhaps in the nature of the band members itself. While Andy Barlow craves all types of beats and such Louise Rohdes is more into the lyrical and the "esthetic" aspect of the music. Such different approaches are certainly bound to create conflict (and they've come close to split up several times) but the result of the mixture of such different approaches is absolutely amazing.
For instance, the first time that you listen to "Cotton wool" is a pretty weird experience. While the music seems to be taken out of a Goldie album the vocals and lyrics belong to a much more mellow band. But somehow, and after listening to it several times, you find that the song really works. However and contrary to what most people think I don't think that this is the strongest track in the album (which speaks about it's quality as the song is superb. "Cotton wool" certainly defines the band but I find, for instance, "God bless" (which I'm listening at the moment) to be much more rewarding. And of course there's the absolutely beautiful "Gorecki" with some of the most beautiful lyrics I've ever listened to.
Overall the album is a great mix of drum n bass with a bit of jazz, some trip hop and a beautiful voice. A mix that shouldn't work in theory but it somehow does. Something unlike anything out there. And with this statement I call out to all those who have tried to label them as Portishead copies to pay more attention. Though at first glance there might be several similarities (mainly due to Lou's voice being somewhat similar to Beth Gibbons' voice) but further listening will reveal that they're quite different and there are very few similarities apart from both being superb bands.
So, bottom line. Buy this album. Superb, one of my favorites without a doubt. If I die and go to heaven this is surely one of the albums I would like to take with me.
on July 9, 2001
Let me start off by saying that Lamb is the best band EVER. Out of the 2,000+ cd's that I own, this one is STILL the most frequently played, and I have had it for three years. Lamb is a complete anomaly. This band offers the interesting combination of Louise Rhodes deeply introspective and tangible vocals, with the choppy percussion and innovative programming of Andy Barlow. You might think that this combination would yield complete sonic chaos, but it does quite the opposite. The marriage of Lou's dreamy vocals to Andy's complex compositions takes the listener on a spiritual journey. The cd opens with "Lusty", which is a very intriguing track. "Lusty" features sparse melodic stabs, a hard percussive backing, and Louise cooing "only you can soothe me, come cool me down..." With that, Louise perfectly conveys the heart and soul of a person in love. And love really IS the theme of this album. "God Bless" features jazzy basslines, seductive beats, and orchestral instruments. It is quite beautiful. "Cottonwool" is perhaps the most breathtaking song I have ever heard. The song is made up of various loops and breakbeats combined with dreamy atmospheric sounds. The effect is eerily beautiful. This coupled with Louise's incredibly profound and soulful lyrics makes "Cottonwool" one of Lamb's best songs. "Transfatty Acid" features weird distortion (it sounds like Lou is singing through a can) and a strange buzzing/electricity type aura. This song makes you feel like you are in another world. "Transfatty Acid" is extremely innovative and the musical effect is mindnumbing. "Zero" is sweet and mellow. It features acoustic guitar and strings and the effect is very powerful. Lou's singing is especially good on this track. "Merge" is strange in that it does not feature Louise's vocals. But it is not a weak track by any means. This track feels like an interlude of sorts, but it is a very refreshing one. This track has a surging bass line which is overlayed with sharp, brassy horns. Then the beats come in fast and feverish, and this song builds into one hell of a climax. This song is exhilerating, to say the least. "Gold" is rather jazzy. It features, what sounds like, an upright bass, combined with sweeping drums, and a marimba(?). It is mellow and soothing, especially following "Merge". "Closer" is the only track that I would deem to be filler, but it is still quite good. It is jazzy, like "Gold" but this has the hard percussive beats that some of the earlier tracks had. "Gorecki" is the heart and soul of this album. This is the best song ever written! In fact, a sliver of it was sung in the new movie "Moulin Rouge" by Nicole Kidman's character Satine. "Gorecki" has the most heartfelt, emotional, honest, passionate lyrics ever written. Louise sings this song so endearingly, that it honestly brings tears to my eyes. This song is a delight musically, as well. It is subdued at first, with soft percussion, and a dreamy, relaxed aura. As the lyrics grow more intense, so does the melody, and the very end of this song absolutely soars. It takes the listener to another plane of existence. It is nothing short of breathtaking, and if you listen to no other song on this album...listen to "Gorecki"! "Feela" is kind of like an experimental, musical trip to a confessional booth. It's as if Louise is singing this song to herself, and the music is very minimal. I equate this song to Madonna's wonderful (but comparatively less inspired) "Mer Girl" on Ray of Light. Now for a word of caution: Do NOT turn off the cd once it goes quiet, or else you will miss the hidden track, which is a remix of "Cottonwool". It is a great remix, too. Definitely worth waiting for! So, basically I recommend that you BUY THIS CD IMMEDIATELY! I think it is the best cd ever recorded, and this is coming from a girl who also happens to be a musician, and the proud owner of over 2,000 cd's. This cd is gold. Trust me.
on November 4, 2000
Louise Rhodes' acrobatic little-girl-lost voice and Lamb's sparse background atmospheres dare you to make the inevitable Portishead comparison. It's a mean and dirty trick, though. Scratch the surface and you'll find that Rhodes and instrumental maestro Andrew Barlow have little in common with Bristol's noir-chic contingent. LAMB carves out a strange space for the Manchester duo between the hectic breakbeat bluster of drum n' bass and the jazz-and-blues-inflected chamber folk of Joni Mitchell and John Martyn. Lamb's points of reference are strange but wonderful. Rhodes' delivery combines the traits of a torch singer, an R&B siren, and an acoustic singer/songwriter into a ravishing and complex vocal identity. The very Mitchell-esque "Zero" shivers, bare and beatific, within a minimalist arrangement of cello and electronics. Bounding basslines wrap "God Bless" in the lithe contours of jazz. Vibes serve the same purpose on the frosty "Gold," while blazing trumpet insinuations graze "Closer" and "Merge." Postmodern Classical titan Henryk Gorecki is cited and name-checked in Lamb's staggeringly beautiful extrapolation of the composer's SYMPHONY, NO. 3, OP 36. "Lusty," "Closer," and "Cotton Wool" provide the hyperkinetic drum n' bass rudiments that Fila Brazillia's superlative remix of the latter (an unlisted bonus track) inflates a thousand-fold.
on February 15, 2000
I was first introduced to Lamb back in 1998. This is an AMAZING cd. I only wish they had a little more recognition. Nonetheless, I absolutely cannot get enough of LAMB! It is quite rare for me to like every track on a cd, but with Lamb, I can keep the cd running without passing a song. I was more of a hip hop lover and at first I had my doubts about the cd but after hearing the first track I was hooked. Each track is amazing but my two favorites would be the haunting song GOREKI and GOD BLESS. Lamb is just something different that came in my life when music became so boring and lackluster. Their second album Fear of Fours was a little different but it holds its own. (I prefer the first cd over the second. BUY THIS CD! You will not regret it. A pointer for those reluctant buyers -at first if the music sounds a little different, keep listening with reckless abandon and then you will be HOOKED! =) If you do infact enjoy Lamb, then check out OLIVE (it's a little more calm but oh so nice) and BREAK BEATS-ULTRA OBSCENE. You won't regret it!
on February 4, 2000
I had only learned to appreciate this album as an afterthought than when it was first released. When I had first heard it, I was used to listening to some very straight-forward 4/4 house, techno and rave-influenced tracks. But it was only when I started discovering drum & bass and break beat styles did I start to look for this release. And when I finally listened to it, and seriously absorbed it, I realized it was none of those things. It had similarities and elements to bands that would be considered trip hop, but they had some nice, unexpectedly syncopated rhythms, very, VERY jazzy progressions, and Louise Rhodes' vocals were of a different style of vocalization than I was used to. These guys are in a group all by themselves and hold themselves up well. But I'm not gonna say that they're better or worse than Portishead, Mono, Morcheeba, Girl Eats Boy or any other similar band because they're JUST that...SIMILAR.
on October 21, 1999
Great album...Have to admit, didn't like it at first, too different for me at the time. Found it a year later, LOVED it, I have recommended it to at least 10 of my friends. Other break-beat/drum & bass bands rely only on loops and samples, but if you saw these guys live, you'd eat your shorts! I saw them support their more recent "Fear of Fours" album, and they rock! Andy does double-duty with keyboards/sound modules and turntables, while Louise has a great voice and stage presence. Melodically and structurally, their music is not common, which is nice. Several of their songs constantly change meter, and they don't seem to be stuck in the same rut that other bands are: the same damned rhythm/melody for every single one of their songs! I can't wait for Lamb to come back to the SF Bay Area in February, and it seemed like they loved Bimbo's 365 Club as well.
on February 24, 1999
What can I say? This is perhaps one of the first and best CD's I have ever heard that melds the frantic pacing of drum 'n' bass and the smoky, emotional vocals of trip hop together successfully. When I purchased this, I was amazed by the level of complexity within this single disc. "Cotton Wool" is a beautiful track which showcases this formula well, starting with an upright bass that leads right into her vocals followed by a spastic drum 'n' bass beat. Not all is intended for dancefloors though, which is refreshing. There is enough variety on this album that it can be applied anywhere. A case in point is "Zero" which features naught but a plucking violin and sultry, longing female vocals. If you idealize music that possesses a high level of creativity combined with intelligent, emotion-provoking lyrics, then this one is a must buy.
on April 26, 1999
If you like electronic style music (especially jungle) you will LOVE Lamb. I have introduced all of my college friends and hometown friends to it and have gotten a 100% good response. Some of them repeatedly ask me where to get the CD or if I can make them a tape. One person's tape (the only one I made) wore out and he had to go get the CD because he listened to it too much.I have 2 CDs that Amazon.com does not have of Lamb's. 2 singles for a song called "b-line" that is not on the album. These CDs are well worth finding and buying! One of them has a really awesome video for CD-ROM, and an alternate version of Gorecki. I have been listening to this CD over and over for months and I am not sick of it yet, and I get sick of music REALLY fast.This CD is really worth buying and feel free to contact me if you have any questions about songs or whatever.
on January 18, 2001
Some backround: I have much in the way of Hooverphonic, Broadcast, St. Etienne, Perfume Tree, and some of the newer Bjork. I also have some Portishead but was never terrible fond of them. The grandmothers of them all in my twisted view is the Cocteau Twins. Having said that, there is no comparison to any of them. The references to Portishead or Bjork in my view mean nothing. With that having been said, my view is that Lamb has them all beat except for the very best CT. That says alot since the other artists mentioned have put out some awesome music out.
This is not trance, it is not dance, and it is not eletronica. Lamb, at least in this CD as I have not heard their other CDs, transcends genre but in a very positive way. This is the most vibrant, interesting, and creative display of music talent I've heard recently.