After 2008’s OH (Ohio), LAMBCHOP looked to be on a four-year cycle between albums, but—while there’s certainly enough to keep one entertained in the interim to be found on both Mr. M and FLOTUS (For Love Often Turns Us Still)—Kurt Wagner & co. couldn’t hold it in any longer, This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You) arriving in late March, a “scant” three years later.
Opener ‘The New Isn’t So You Anymore’ is positively liquid, a lazy, languid, darkside-of-an-early-morning organ drizzling maple syrup over waffles. The lyric “I’m not livin’ in slow motion, I am breathing actual air” could speak to those moments when our desire to take life at the pace in which it reveals itself seems driven by (at least Western) society’s bulldozer of opinions masquerading as “rights” and any difference of thought is branded heretic…but it also might just have “kind of slipped out”.
And that’s the beauty of LAMBCHOP – it’s what you want it to be, when you need it to be whatever it is at the time. So, this morning, on my 4am commute, the funky fresh, wake-up-and-smell-the-Friday vibe of ‘Everything For You’ was that too. If you’ve noticed a pattern here, aside from one song, “you” is (are) part of every title, interwoven through the tapestry that is This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You), communicated in lyrics, wafting in (or snatched) from the cultural outlands of 2019, nowhere more evident than in ‘The Lasting Last Of You’.
While ‘The December-ish You’ may be rife with wordplay, the glitches and vocal effects, the nearly-alchemical gift of understatement in sonic form musically recall the experimentation for which WILCO became media darlings with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Wagner had been perfecting for years prior.
In all, what LAMBCHOP has done with This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You) is skipped deftly over the curse of the 13th album, straight on to a release that stands not only proudly among its siblings, but nearly head and shoulders above most of the rest of what’s out there.