Baby Eagle Baby Eagle

Steven Lambke brings something rare to wordy folk rock: hooks! With help from collaborators John K. Samson and Christine Fellows, Lambke’s debut as Baby Eagle is a spirited and improbably infectious collection of songs. The Constantine has long been an inventive lyricist and he’s fully embraced the limitations of his voice, channelling it mightily. Obvious Three Gut associations aside, there’s a whole lot of Royal City hovering above Lambke’s earnest ballads, which are meandering love letters wrapped up in riddles and clever, less-is-more musical composition. His voice rises excitedly during "Some Things We Lose” and "Half Moon on the City High,” as he gets caught up in the urgency of what he wants to convey. There’s a great goddamned stomp to "Redpath Sugar Factory” and it’s impossible not to be swayed by the alluring monotony of "Your Wounded Jaw, Our Dead Remains.” "Let Wander Your Restless Heart” is the verbose, indirect cousin of Springsteen’s "I’m On Fire;” it drips longing but shifts uncomfortably behind a barrage of words that struggle to mask desire. Lambke struggles through "High Winds at Sea,” but the song fights to be remembered for its catchy refrain, bringing us to the haunting "Long Dying Days of the Holidays.” There’s a real wanderlust to this record and Lambke playfully embodies the role of guitar-and-harmonica-totin’ troubadour on "Lady Come Greet Me” and "Through the Darkness Comes a Train.” Fraught with solitude, Baby Eagle’s songs capture the heightened senses that accompany loneliness but are rendered with folk song whimsy and courage. (Outside)