OUT LIKE LAMBS - Not So Winter Waltz

Out Like Lambs - Not So Winter Waltz

9 songs
60:44 minutes
***** ****
Music Of The Spheres


Last year, Out Like Lambs left already a splendid impression with their four track EP. Led by vocalist Rachel Ade and guitarist Michael Lucio Sternbach, this New Jersey based collective of sixteen musicians moves roughly speaking in territories marked by folk, Americana and lo-fi indie, but it’s the radically idiosyncratic approach and the courage to venture outside common prefabricated musical boundaries that puts them in a league of their own.

Their debut longplayer Not So Winter Waltz will be released on vinyl and on CD, and while the former has more generous layout, the latter comes with four additional tracks, nearly doubling the running time. The album features the three longer tracks from the EP, with Bred To Bug and Downstream opening the CD and Two Speeds concluding it. The remaining six songs consequently follow in these footsteps. Apart from the instrumental Dead Embers and the strange yet enchanting cover version of Samhain’s cult classic death rock hit Archangel, all the pieces range between six and nine minutes, giving ample space for the numerous musicians to add their parts to the whole.

The comparisons I drew last time to Talk Talk and Robert Wyatt still count, and especially since Mark Hollis has been inactive for over ten years, it’s a real joy to finally hear once again a band whose music is so uniquely combining skilful songwriting with intricate instrumental passages that seamlessly manage to bridge improvisational parts to complex arrangements full of wind and strings instruments.

There is probably no other band that can jump so easily from frail folk melodies to polyphonic avant-garde without making the song feel overly constructed. Out Like Lambs have managed to build on the virtues of their predecessor, and while the vinyl version certainly looks better, the much longer CD will treat you with one hour of spectacular indie folk transcending all hitherto known genre boundaries. Extraordinary effort!

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