Lambchop OH (Ohio)

Lambchop OH (Ohio)
Nashville-based Lambchop have long been critical darlings, earning serious peer respect and undeniably having a strong influence on the alternative roots scene. The more collective approach of their earlier work has given way to the dominance of singer/songwriter Kurt Wagner. "Lambchop more and more have become a vehicle for my songs and myself as an artist,” he noted recently. That transition has been a mixed blessing, judging by the uneven and at times, disappointing OH (Ohio). With its swirling strings, female backing vocals and Wagner’s somewhat maudlin vocal delivery, "Slipped Dissolved And Loosed” veers dangerously close to sentimental kitsch, as does "I’m Thinking Of A Number (between 1 and 2).” There is more of a pulse to "National Talk Like A Pirate Day” (great title) and "Sharing A Gibson with Martin Luther Ling Jr.,” two of the strongest cuts here, while "Please Rise” is the most effective of his slow, mournful songs. There’s nothing wrong with languid melancholy but the likes of Tindersticks do it more effectively. A little spring in this Lamb’s step would be welcome. (Merge)