Is A Woman (Merge)

Lambchop 

Is A Woman (Merge)

Kurt Wagner, Lambchop's vocalist, maintains that eight or nine musicians contributed consistently to Is A Woman, the Nashville group's sixth full-length. Good thing he cleared that up, because there's virtually no way to discern the size of the band by listening to the disc. Perhaps never before have so many people sounded like so much less than the sum of their parts in volume, if not in total scope. On 2000's Nixon, the players poured out of the mix, creating orchestral soul with an Americana accent. By contrast, Is A Woman, the latest in a career of musical left turns that has yet to make a square, is a sparse affair dominated by Wagner and pianist Tony Crow. While its sound continues to change, Lambchop's method remains consistent -- Wagner and company always explore a plethora of influences. This time, the band delves into soul, lush country and timeless torch songs. Players drift through at their leisure -- a sax here, some steel guitar there -- while Wagner ruminates on love and death. In the quiet, contemplative process, he establishes yet another effective identity for Lambchop.

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