Returning with their third album after their hiatus, Lamb’s continued presence in music is always a joy. Lamb’s mix of live instruments, dreamy vocals and sub-woofer bursting beats and basslines have long been a unique collection to the ears. ‘The Secret of Letting Go’ is an interesting divergence into a more celestial and straightforward electronica, which won’t grab you immediately like some of their previous work. It does bury deeply though.
Opening with ‘Phosphorous’, the new sound palette is set. Lou’s vocals are front and centre and they’ll stay there for the majority of the album. The more bombastic drums and synths are left for Andy to kick out primarily in the excellent ‘Moonshine’ and the kooky 7/4 timing of ‘Armageddon Waits’. These two tracks show what potential there is in this celestial, more chilled out vibe that Lamb is running with for the album. The drama of the strings, the swooshing of the bass and drums – it all comes together perfectly.
‘Bulletproof’ reminds me of early Lamb where the beats and bass were thick and garish. It’s a token throwback that doesn’t resurface. Indeed, after the title track’s wonderfully weird pulsing synths and angry Lou vocals – the album transitions into more conventional dream-pop means.
‘Imperial Measures’ is a lovely track where piano and voice come together in a warm, rich ballad. It feels more akin to Lou’s solo work. ‘The Other Shore’ then moves into a Bjork ‘Homogenic – lite’ mood with soft piano, lilting strings and militant snares flitting around. Lou’s vocals across the second half of the album continue to add more and more reverb and doubling to increase the softly, softer effect. ‘Deep Delirium’ takes that vibe into an instrumental trip-hop track before the superb ‘Illumina’ gives us a spacey Soft Cell vibe. The music is muted and empty but the voice is like a gentle siren cawing at you to come closer. I really love it when Lamb’s more mysterious side peeps out across the album. The album then closes with two beautiful ballads.
‘The Secret of Letting Go’ is in some ways the most mainstream and conventional album Lamb has made to date, but also their most relaxed and chilled out. It’s smooth, almost cathartic. I think some fans of their earlier work may struggle a little with their change of mood and pace, particularly with its ballad heavy second half, but then they’ll also be missing out on some very beautiful music too. The album is definitely a grower for me and I appreciate that they never stay still. I’ll be hoping for a few more Lambisms in the next album.
Recommended track: Armageddon Waits
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