Published Nov 02, 2016For an artist with such a sprawling body of work, it's remarkable just how solid and focused a discography Kurt Wagner has amassed over the past quarter-century. This may be due to the Nashville musician's penchant for making music both instantaneously relevant and timeless. As the only constant member of indie trad-country heroes Lambchop, Wagner manages to come off even more familiarly daring than before on FLOTUS, his first album in four years.
Subtitled 'For Love Often Turns Us Still,' Lambchop's 12th LP explores electronic and ambient sounds. Wagner melds his spoken-sung vocals with bubbling synth accents and serene beats that help drive some of the album's more exploratory and captivating tracks here, as on the vocoder-drenched opener "In Care of 8675309," the purposeful "Directions to the Can" and "Old Masters." Throughout the album's 10 tracks, Wagner balances these programmed sounds with gentle, solicitous piano and sparsely strummed guitar that lends warmth to tracks like the titular "Flotus" and the curious 18-minute closer "The Hustle."
Yet, what should continue to draw longtime Lambchop fan in to FLOTUS is the fact that Wagner's songwriting, lyrics and arrangements remain as strong, insightful and clever as ever, making nary an eye blink at Wagner's odd journey into new musical dimensions. (Merge)