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Lamb - "Lamb"

Mercury Records, 1996

Considering that just about every major subcultural trend in music since about 1978 has begun in or near Manchester England, it's not suprising that the current wave of dance/techno bands have some roots in the rainy north as well. First of all there's the Chemical Brothers...and well, these days they speak for themselves pretty much. But less well known, and perhaps not as stunning or innovative, are Lamb. Formed by vocalist Louise Rhodes and drummer/producer/DJ Andrew Barlow, who were both fans of hip hop, Lamb wanted a way to take the rhythms of hip hop and merge them with the new sounds and forms coming out of the techno scene.  What they have conceived is more trip-hop than techno, and more moody than dancey, and it is certain worth a few listens. Lamb combine Rhodes' soulful vocals with intense precussion sounds, keeping the number of other things entering into the mix to a bare minimum. The album is a showcase of entertwining vocals and diverse backbeats, reminiscent of the more soulful aspects of Tricky or Portishead. Where much dance music these days is very showy and noisy, filled to the brim with noises, at times Lamb's debut seems an experiment in minimalism and silence. While eventually the tracks begin to blend together, the emotion with which the songs are presented is immediately evident. Lamb have put together a moody album, suited best for dark rainy nights, sitting in the back of a smokey bar or for lying out on the grass looking at the stars. And while they may not be the most amazing duo on the dance scene today, if you come across the album, you should certainly give it a once-over.

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