Lambchop Is A Woman

While 2000’s Nixon album justifiably brought plenty of ears to the intoxicating sound of this Nashville orchestra — enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall — Is A Woman could just as easily return them to being obscure critics’ darlings. It’s certainly a beautiful album, but its primary appeal is sedation; without artificial stimulants even the most attentive listener will have trouble staying awake. It makes Julie Doiron sound like Alannah Myles. Despite the band’s cast of 17, they’re completely wasted, when they could have instead salvaged every snoozy song from sounding the same, like they eventually do on the closing title track. The only audible instruments are guitar, piano and Kurt Wagner’s voice; the latter sounds like your grandfather’s eccentric storytelling punctuated only by the odd falsetto pirouette. There’s none of the soul that set Nixon apart, and none of the camouflaged country influence that critics continue to insist is inherent in Lambchop’s geography. In fact, there’s not much here at all, unless you’re a chronic insomniac. (Merge)