Lamb – What Sound

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

The third album from curiously-named Manchester electronica duo Lamb marks the first time the band have worked with a co-producer – Guy Sigsworth. They have also taken this opportunity to broaden the scope of their sound and rope in a number of guest musicians along the way.

The opening title track sets the scene – swirling keyboards are punctuated halfway through by clattering beats. This tension is carried across the rest of the record – fragile soundscapes do battle with a raft of industrial beats and noises, creating an organic, ghost-in-the-machine ambience similar to Björk’s latest work.

At times, such as on the mesmerising ONE and the stunning single GABRIEL the layers of sound build into a tantric mass of epic proportions, very different from the playful quirky electronics of SMALL.

The addition of guest musicians was a smart move. Jimi Goodwin of Doves provides an acoustic strum on the Cocteau Twins-y THIS COULD BE HEAVEN, while Michael Franti’s deep tones appear in the middle of I CRY. But top prize must go to the ultra-talented Me’shell Ndegeocello, whose virtuoso slap-bass on SWEET really kicks the album into gear.

The obligatory scratch-filled instrumental (helpfully called SCRATCH BASS) is also more than just filler – a chunky piece of dark techno with all manner of cross-channel trickery courtesy of the Scratch Perverts’ Tony Vega.

Veering from big beat to jazz via avant-garde Aphex-style electronica, Lamb have delivered an impressive, varied album. Not every song’s a winner, and the more stripped-down tracks (WRITTEN IN YOUR NAME, for one) expose the fragility of Lou Rhodes’ voice, but then that’s probably intentional.

Worth investigating.

4 stars