Published Feb 01, 2000The pairing of Louise Rhodes and Andy Barlow have attracted many admirers, and these fans of the duo were waiting anxiously for some noise to emerge from the Lamb camp. With the release of What Sound, the pair's third offering, the fans have something new to indulge in. But little did most people know, this album and any other follow-ups may never have happened.
"When you're really close to something, like when you've just written an album, it's hard to be objective," recalls Rhodes about the time shortly after releasing their sophomore effort. "When we had just written Fear of Fours, we thought it was quite a commercial album. It was only a couple of years down the line that we realised what a difficult album it really is to listen to." That difficulty was primarily the musical battles her and Barlow would experience fighting for one another's melodic expertise. "You could tell there was quite a lot of conflict between us on that album. [Our difference in taste] was at its most extreme on Fear of Fours. We were both battling to be heard and both waving our flags for our particular side of the fence. Andy was really not into vocals and I was trying to be heard." So shortly after the touring of Fear of Fours, Lamb decided to dissolve their partnership.
Thankfully though, Lamb's break-up ended being only a mere hiccup in the duo's history. "I think it was only a matter of weeks that we were officially not Lamb," Rhodes points out. "Oddly enough I think that was the beginning rather than the end." It was with this parting that the two realised that they needed to forge on and work out whatever incompatibilities that occurred in past recording and touring. "We lot all these differences really get on top of us. When we split the band it inadvertently gave the whole thing a new lease on life. We were able to step back and see Lamb for what it really was to see all the nonsense we let get in the way. We just turned over a new leaf and without any of the pressure of what Lamb was supposed to be or anything like that. It was just like a sort of a rebirth really."
This "rebirth" shines through heavily in What Sound. Gone is the madness of Barlow's beats engulfing Rhodes' beautifully lush vocals with a musical unity taking its place instead. "After the split, coming back together and clearing a lot of shit out of the way in the process, it's like there's so much more crossover in what we do," explains Rhodes. "And so much more respect for what each of us does. It's not like point-scoring where, Oh this is mine and I did that.' It's now more what's best for Lamb. What works in the music and what feels right." And with the mutual appreciation for each other's role in the band, Lamb's new project is their finest to date. "Andy listens to a lot more vocal-based music now and as a result you can hear a lot more of the space that he gives to the songs. I think the songs are more centred than they've ever been, because they've been given that breathing space."