Kurt Wagner’s Lambchop gets electronic on the recent album FLOTUS | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Kurt Wagner’s Lambchop gets electronic on the recent album FLOTUS


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It’s a bit strange to hear the drowsy, conversational singing of Kurt Wagner dipped in alien AutoTune effects on Lambchop’s recent album FLOTUS (Merge), but nearly every record in the band’s voluminous discography contains elements that distinguish it from its predecessors. Opener “In Care of 8675309,” a wry reference to the Tommy Tutone hit, unfolds languidly over 11 minutes, and the vocal treatment comes to make more sense as the track progresses and Wagner calmly considers an existential crisis via one quotidian event after another, with a refrain that keeps circling back to “the house of cancer.” The album is the band’s most stripped-down effort to date, a restrained and unornamented set where spare piano and guitar lines are draped over percolating electronic and live beats to convey a whispery intimacy—it’s a quiet storm that keeps its soulfulness miniature. The opener excepted, the bulk of FLOTUS is filled with short, bubbly balladry, but it concludes with the epic “The Hustle,” a bookend that gurgles electronically for 18 languid minutes, its expressions of devotion seeming to suggest the doubts that open the record have been erased.   v

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