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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most beautiful and affective works from a brilliant band.,
This review is from: Mr. M (Audio CD)Lambchop have made a number of outstanding albums as they've evolved from "Nashville's most f--ked-up country band" to a singular chamber pop ensemble during a career that lasted nearly two decades, but one of their finest works is not really a Lambchop album at all.
Vic Chesnutt recruited Lambchop to serve as his backing band on the 1998 album "The Salesman and Bernadette", and the results were a marvelous fusion of the group's broad but emotionally intimate approach and Chesnutt's witty, skewed, and perceptive gifts as a songwriter.
Chesnutt and Lambchop's Kurt Wagner seemed like kindred spirits, fellow Southerners who married oblique yet telling poetry to melodies that were strong yet fluidly graceful, and it should surprise no one that Wagner was hit hard by Chesnutt's death in late 2009.
Lambchop's first studio project since Chesnutt's passing, 2012's "Mr. M", is dedicated to Wagner's friend and collaborator, and though the songs don't deal explicitly with Chesnutt, there's a sense of sorrow in these songs that's deeper than what we've come to expect from Lambchop, infused with an air of reflection and regret that's impossible to miss.
As usual, Wagner's lyrics are blankly poetic and don't much concern themselves with linear storytelling, but his gently abstract sketches of people coming to terms with loss and unkind fate make themselves felt even when they're not literally understood, and the lines "Friends make you sensitive/Loss makes us idiots/Fear makes us critical/Knowledge is difficult" from the song "Mr. Met" sums up the tone and the themes of this album remarkably well.
But if "Mr. M" is music informed by tragedy, the sense of gravity makes this some of the most beautiful and powerful music Lambchop have created to date.
Wagner's gorgeous, artful melodies give the musicians plenty of opportunity to demonstrate their remarkable command of dynamics and interpersonal interaction, and most of the songs have been gussied up with fine, tasteful string arrangements that weave their way in and out of the band's performances rather than simply being draped over the top.
"Mr. M" is an album that concerns itself with loss, but the beauty and gentle force of these songs speak to the joys and responsibilities of being alive, and the album is more than simply a fitting tribute to a fallen comrade, it's one of the most affecting works to date from a brilliant, one-of-a-kind band. M.Deming
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I hope you're still listening,
This review is from: Mr. M (Audio CD)Although I am giving the same number of stars (as a rounding up of 3.5) as the previous (excellent) review, I am afraid I am not quite as generous in my praise. The standard history of Lambchop is that, after years of anonymity, they hit critical and (relatively speaking) commercial gold with 2000's "Nixon" whence they have returned to below the radar. This is, inevitably, an oversimplification on many levels. It ignores the brilliance of albums such as debut "I Hope You're Sitting Down" and "What Another Man Spills" and 2002's "Is A Woman" and the fact that, happily, "Mr M" has received rather more press attention than any Lamchop release for the best part of a decade.
"Mr M" is a worthy tribute to the late, great Vic Chestnutt whose spirit infuses the tone of the album, but pales slightly in comparison with the afore-mentioned predecessors. Although a number of tracks are from the top-drawer, overall there is not enough variety of sound and consistency of song-writing to confer greatness upon "Mr M".
Wagner's real skills are in his powers of observation and the textures he deploys. Here his lyrics, while heartfelt, are full of cliches while the sound is materially the same as 2006's "Damaged" and 2008's "OH (Ohio"). Although the string ensembles provide a pathos, I miss the richness and variety of instrumentation of yore whose absence highlights the slightness of, say, "2B2" and there is nothing as raucous as "Hellmouth", as soulfully upbeat as "Give Me Your Love" or the change of song within a song as in the case of "Is A Woman".
Significantly two of the standout tracks "Gone Tomorrow" and "The Good Life (Is Wasted)" are (relatively) upbeat with the strongest melodic feel of the album. To even greater effect, "Kind Of" is a torch song par excellence. The lyrics speak directly to the senses and the song grows to an emotional climax, the tension created by the standout performance from the Tosca String Quartet. All these three songs would grace a "best of" Lambchop but to paraphrase a paraphrase, Lambchop's offal is better than most bands banquet.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best band ever, period,
This review is from: Mr. M (Audio CD)So good it's silly.
Not much of a review, I know. But anyway, listen to Gone Tomorrow, and you will catch my drift, as they say. Or you won't get a thing. And then this is not for you.
4.0 out of 5 stars Mellow Mr M,
This review is from: Mr. M (Audio CD)This album is nearly as good as Nixon. There are some really melodic tracks with an almost Van Morrison Astral weeks feel to them. Nice to listen to with a friend, glass or two of wine, log fire....
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars lovely vinyl package,
The music? Quintessential Lambchop!
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovelly Vinyl,
The records themselves are 180g complete with pictured label.
The only issue I have is that the lead-in is very small, which makes it quite difficult to drop the stylus on it on my turntable. But this isn't a very minor blot on an otherwise great package. Its how music should be sold!
At £10 its unmissable.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Vinyl,
Still great value though at twice the price.
Great music and a great package:
2 LPs on excellent 180g Vinyl
A beautiful gatefold sleeve with lyric notes, fresh packaging especially for Vinyl (see photos)
A live DVD
Download codes - unlike many downloads, these are top quality and with a set of 6 bonus tracks (5 remixes and a bonus track)
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great talent,
This review is from: Mr. M (MP3 Download)having just found out last year that lambchop even existed i have missed out on this talented artist who has a way with words that maybe asenine lyrically but they have great depth and are vocally & musically a piece of art which you don't get with today's singers i recommend this album and will be purchasing more lambchop albums check them out on you tube see some live performances that will blow your mind
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The old stereo,
This review is from: Mr. M (Audio CD)Hi Lambchop lovers! More organic but no less cosmic than say Nixon or Is a Woman that's not to say that they're not all good but these are the standouts as this one could be, well for me anyhow. Breath Deep
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Mr. M by Lambchop (Audio CD - 2012)