does this look like a band that plays Americana?
does this look like a band that plays Americana?

Lambchop – Mr. M.
City Slang
Available February 20th
8/10

It’s now twelve years since Lambchop, AKA Kurt Wagner and a revolving band of supporting minstrels, made their breakthrough in the alt-country world with 2000’s Nixon. With a steady stream of critical acclaim since then, we’re about to find out whether new album Mr. M. can continue their success. Here’s what Katie Shepherd thought.

Mr. M: There's a flicker of a meme for Arrested Development fans lurking here.

Walking around near The Academy music venue in Manchester, I was more than a bit surprised when someone handed me a flyer for an upcoming tour by Nashville-based band Lambchop. Not that I question the credibility of a band who have released ten successful albums, but because a band from the heartland of country music with a lead singer who wears a trucker hat doesn’t exactly seem like the Manchester type. That very “going against the grain” attitude however is exactly the appeal of the music Lambchop creates. Originating from the land of bands like Big & Rich, singing about saving horses and riding cowboys, Lambchop’s lyrics remain simple; discussing life’s little happenings over the top of relaxed guitar picking, backed by folk instrumentals.

Mr. M. has a more studio produced sound than the band’s previous albums, with the once prominent steel guitar now missing. Despite the changes, Kurt Wagner, the voice and core of Lambchop (who at one time had a member count which totaled in the teens), now carries a smaller, but still solid, chilled energy across their new release. The album is dedicated to the memory of Wagner’s close friend and fellow musician Vic Chesnut, and paces itself with that kind of mournful spirit.

Lambchop’s initial success came from the release of Nixon in 2000, and since that time they have built a solid fan-base in Europe, with fans anxiously awaiting the release of the new album. A dabbling visual artist, Wagner has incorporated some of his art into the jacket of the new release. The album opens, unexpectedly, with the line “Don’t know what the fuck they talk about” but never proves to be abrasive, as the tone of the record is mostly hopeful. Tracks like ”˜Mr. Met’ stand out for the lyrics, with Wagner’s hollow vocals crooning advice like, “Hate makes us powerless” while other tracks such as ”˜Kind of’ remain musically simple and soothing. The album’s appeal is definitely in its mellow and simple essence.

Mr. M is not your typical Nashville-produced album in much the same way that Lambchop is not your typical Nashville-produced band. Thoughtful and simple, Mr. M. is definitely well-worth a listen.

Mr. M. is released on February 20th 2012 through City Slang. Until then, why not watch the video for single ‘Gone Tomorrow’ below?

Live Dates for 2012
01.03. UK – London , Barbican
03.03. IRL – Dublin , Vicar´s Street
04.03. UK – Gateshead , Sage
05.03. UK – Glasgow , Oran Mor
06.03. UK – Manchester , Cathedral
07.03. UK – Bristol , Fleece

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