Lambsbread Stereo Mars

[Ecstatic Peace; 2007]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: frenzied scuzz guitar freakouts!
Others: Blue Humans, Noggin, Universal Indians

Three stoners creating fuzzed out, free-form, dual guitar/jazz drum mayhem in a suburban Ohio garage set the world on fire in 2006, scoring tours with iconoclastic stalwarts Magik Markers and Graveyards and earning high praise from just about every important voice in experimental music. Over the past two years, Lambsbread, a trio consisting of guitarists Kathy O’Dell and Zac Davis and drummer Shane Mackenzie have risen from basement nobodies to darlings of the Midwest noise set. Their seven-minute live sets left a series of blown amps, broken strings, wrecked eardrums, blown minds, and roaches scattered about the United States.

An exhilarating exercise in controlled chaos, Lambsbread recall the Blue Humans album Clear to Higher Time, on which guitarists Alan Licht and Rudolph Grey respectively assaulted the right and left speaker. Unlike that album, Lambsbread incorporates an array of styles into its free-form vortex, not just free-jazz fret firecrackers. Throughout the course of the band’s already immense output, mainly on their own Maim and Disfigure label, bits of Hendrix-esque workouts, hardcore, dub, and other stylistic cues make the mix.

O’Dell and Davis are also attuned to each other’s movements, and their spontaneity never seems ungrounded. Oftentimes each guitarist in a guitar-noise outfit channels his own interstellar destination and travels a separate way, adding to the chaotic overall feel. Lambsbread head in the same direction, with one player sacrificing the Ayler-on-an-axe soloing and laying drone or feedback groundwork. Mackenzie reads the players’ every move, making the band’s guitar anarchy seem almost premeditated.

On their first widely-available release (albeit in a limited edition of 500), the artwork features the same cheap, magic marker lettering effects and Xeroxed photos of black musicians that litter their Maim and Disfigure releases. Nothing separates this release musically from a self-released CDR, but the band still creates a heady burner that demonstrates the unit’s tightness and dexterity.

Side A opens fire with a slow rat-tat-tat guitar and drum attack, then leads into more guitar hysteria. The ever-amazing Mackenzie stops on a dime when O’Dell and Davis cut out the fret work and allow their guitars time to bleed. Side B starts with a free-jazz drum intro before the fret-bashing commences. This side is more varied, eventually melting into a psychedelic bad-trip music swirl. Each guitar note ends in a joyous feedback spark, and the band rips almost robotic-sounding skree. Thick, sludgy chord chunks even make for a Sabbath-esque meltdown at times on Side B. Nevertheless, the majority of this side employs the band’s trademark sound explosion. The record amounts to the usual Lambsbread fare. No better. No worse. The medium’s just a bit larger than a CD-R and made from vinyl.

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