Lambchop

Lambchop

Lambchop

Aw C’mon & No You C’mon

Merge

Lambchop has been nothing if not prolific in their decade-plus run, churning out full lengths, singles and various odds and ends like it was their final visit to the recording studio. This year sees the band venturing into uncharted territory for them: the highly dubious simultaneous release of separate albums.

The Aw C’mon/No You C’mon song cycle has its roots in a request for the band to provide an original live score for a San Francisco Film Festival screening of F.W. Murneau’s 1927 silent film “Sunrise.” Head ‘chop Kurt Wagner, however, felt that some of the score material was lacking when isolated from the film, and axed pieces to make room for new material.

By Wagner’s own press release admission Aw C’Mon is the stronger of the two releases, having a clear definition in tone, flow, and structure. It’s perfect southern soul that renders time-traveling what-if questions like “What if it had been The Tindersticks instead of Dusty Springfield who had recorded a late ’60s masterpiece with Jerry Wexler?” irrelevant. There’s hardly a clunker in the bunch, but “Steve McQueen” is the easy winner to these ears. The song features some incredibly intricate interplay between guitar, strings, bass, piano, and drums and is as close to the ’60s/’70s Nashville sound as you’re going to find these days.

No You C’mon, on the other hand, while still an excellent album, feels slightly more extraneous with its forays into “rock” –“Nothing Adventurous Please,” where Wagner’s smoke worn voice can’t keep up with the band’s manic pace– the resurrecting of pre-Lambchop material (“Under a Dream of a Lie”), and the stylistically anachronistic bend on the doo-wop inspired “Shang a Dang Dang.” I’m not trying to impugn the value of these tracks. The songwriting is topnotch; it’s the cohesiveness of the album that’s a little lacking.

At the very least, fans of orchestral indie pop should be elated with both discs. The rest of the world should get ahold of Aw C’mon and give it a few listens before deciding to opt for total immersion. That said, I think Lambchop will make a number of converts thanks to these two discs taken together. I should know; I’m one of them.

Merge Records: www.mergerecords.com

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