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Lamb – “5” Review

We thought it may never come but Lamb have returned with the stupendous “5”. The duo whom ventured off to explore their own creative paths  have returned with a tour-de-force.

Opening with the panoramic “Another Language” which effortlessly swings between tight keyboard bell montages to sweeping padded vistas with smashing drums. It’s a catchy warm, loving hug topped off with Lou’s magical vocals. “Butterfly Effect” swaps warm sunsets to eerie underworld clicks and twists with Andy’s pitch shifting bass line that forms the crux of the track manipulating around your ears like a stalker closing in fast. What is most apparent here is that the song melodies are stripped down to a real core sound for each track, with this one in particular going for the dark grizzly arena. “Build A Fire” moves the duo into rock territory with simple verses led by chiming bell sounds before breaking out into a euphoric electric guitar frenzy for the choruses. It’s really uplifting and sounds like a completely new side to Lamb we’ve yet to experience and is one of the standouts because of it.

“Wise Enough” reminds me of Mandalay. It slowly meanders itself through with a string background being gradually smothered with more reverberant percussion. The song builds and builds into something quite grand as the strings swell and we’re treated to a keyboard synth solo over the top. “Existential Itch” is a short track which brings back the double bass and percussion sound with lots of vocal layers. It’s fun without being over zealous and has a catchy chorus vocal riff. “Strong the Root” continues the percussive edge to the album by mixing electronic and real world beats with a pulsating bass and pushes the minimalistic track forward until it almost verges on industrial.

“Rounds” is an ethereal track which works in perfect balance as sumptuous electric guitar piques the chords over Lou’s reverb drenched vocals. It’s calming, soothing and comforting, even in its climactic build up when drums join in for the final chorus. Beautiful. “She Walks” showcases Lamb’s affinity for unusual time signatures that keep you on your toes. Throughout the album the tracks are mostly underpinned by a pulsating bass that takes the main melody and here is where it works at its best. In contrast “Last Night The Sky” showcases the new edge to Lamb which has become more guitar/rock influenced. Here its massive drums, strings and vocals. It’s an epic track that is easily on par with their very best known efforts.

“The Spectacle” is a ballad that feels a lot bigger than it actually is as the song too’s and fro’s between two sets of two chords for the majority of the track. The piano is beautifully scored by underplayed strings and Lou’s vocals remain very still throughout. It’s reflective but also worldly. The closing track features Damien Rice whose vocals blend beautiful as the album rounds off with an electro-rock ballad. Obviously going into the folk territory in her solo works has influenced Lamb’s overall sound. The choruses here are heartbreaking.

Andy and Lou are fantastic as Lamb and its a welcome return. They’ve lost none of their nature prowess for utilising the best of each other and with their new guitar edge thrown in for good measure, they’ve evolved their sound to make it all worth while. An absolute triumph.

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