Lambchop Damaged

[Merge; 2006]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: alt-country, Americana, soul, chamber pop
Others: Smog, Tindersticks, Silver Jews, Magnetic Fields

Lambchop has been at it for years. Headed by an inspired, often candid songster in Kurt Wagner, Lambchop draw from a wealthy pool of talented musicians (not to be confused with a talented pool of wealthy musicians) on Damaged, the group's ninth album. The roster is comprised of 15 different artists, including Nashville duo Scott Martin and Ryan Harris of ex/el outfit Hands off Cuba.

The straightforward, country pastiche that makes up Damaged supplies a languid bass, acoustic, electric, and slide guitar(s), hushed drums, and an affable piano, dragging you into Lambchop's cluster. This arrangement takes us from infidelity to a song titled "Crackers," all the way to the album's closer, "The Decline of Country and Western Civilization," which puts things in an encompassing spectrum with lines like, "You see your pitchfork I-rock saviors/A nd I'm sorry I still prefer Jim Nabors/And Damn they're looking ugly to me/Damn they're looking ugly to me." The lyrics are thoughtful, introspective, and idiosyncratic remembrances of the moments and meditations that make up our lives.

Lazy Saturday mornings are meant to be had with this album. Like Wagner remembering the small things that make up our lives, Damaged might just be in the background of yours.

1. Paperback Bible
2. Prepared
3. The Rise And Fall Of The Letter P
4. Day Without Glasses, A
5. Beers For The Barbician
6. I Would Have Waited Here All Day
7. Crackers
8. Fear
9. Short
10. The Decline Of Country & Western Civilization

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