Lambchop - Aw C'mon / No You C'mon
It’s quite a novelty in this digital age for a double-album to be released, and one that isn’t a comprehensive live concert. The old days of vinyl has long since been superseded by the eighty minute CD, and yet here we have alt.country/jazz/lounge rockers Lambchop releasing a double album - Aw C’mon / No You C’mon. Frontman Kurt Wagner argues differently, claiming that this is in fact two albums released simultaneously, irregardless of the fact that both cannot be purchased without the other in the UK, and that artwork, album titles and songs are almost identical thematically.
There are reasons why Lambchop have released a glut of material. Wagner had initially set himself a project of writing and a whole song each day over a course of months, which proved prolific. Also, the band were asked to write a score for the wonderful nineteen-twenties’ silent epic film Sunrise by F.W. Murnau, and many of these selections have also found their way onto Aw C’mon / No You C’mon. Both albums last approximately forty-five minutes, and anyone trying to find a strong reason as to why a song appears on one album or another, or the tracks are assembled in the order that they are, is merely scraping the barrel for an over-symbolic justification that doesn’t seem to exist. The fact seems to be that Lambchop have enough good material, and have therefore decided to unselfishly release it in one package as opposed to stretching out two albums over the course of a year.
Qualitatively, Aw C’mon slightly edges out No You C’mon by virtue of having one or two worthier standouts, but anyone who has specific interest in one of the two Lambchop albums on offer will find an almost equal amount of pleasure from listening to the other. Both titles ooze a calming warmth that was noticeably lacking in previous album Is A Woman, which was a stark, piano driven foray into abstract musical ambiance. Almost two years later, the band release a double-album that is welcoming, and abundant in soulful production values. At times, musical genres are fused together so seamlessly that Lambchop could be the perfect backing-band for a smoky club. You feel that they could rock out if necessary, or play solemn ballads just as effortlessly. Being Tyler could sound like the best swirling-string work of Love Unlimited, whilst Nothing But A Blur From A Bullet Train could propel anyone to embark upon a nineteenth-century frontier adventure.
Kurt Wagner vocal talents are an odd beast indeed. He certainly doesn’t sing, and each syllable is delivered quickly, without a trace of lingering afterthought. Somehow, this works perfectly in tandem with his fellow band-members, and seeing as Wagner himself writes the majority of the songs on offer it’s hard to question his musical authority, even if his voice will take some tolerance on the part of new listeners expecting a voice in the same vein as fellow alt.country pioneers Josh Rouse or Joe Pernice. That said, some of the instrumental tracks featured on the albums work just as effectively without Wagner’s voice; Timothy B. Schmidt is a tribute to the Eagles guitarist in both tone and name. It’s when you reach songs such as The Gusher, a romantically-relaxed song about a possibly morbid subject, that you realise Lambchop are just as comfortable sitting amongst the chill-out genres, but then this isn’t surprising from a band who have collaborations with Zero 7 and Morcheeba on their portfolio.
Ninety-plus minutes of music at an affordable price is value to anybody, but the music on offer is as dazzling, shimmering and embracing as Aw C’mon / No You C’mon then it is rendered pre-requisite for any guitar aficionado with jazzier leanings. It’s a soulful concoction of many genres that combine to prove that Lambchop are a band that we must savour, especially when they release two albums at once.