2. God Bless
3. Cotton Wool
- Lamb: Andy Barlow, Louise Rhodes.
- Additional personnel: Steve Christian (guitar); The Cheinksaw Sisters (cello); Graham Massey (vibraphone); Paddy Steer, Dan Thorne (acoustic bass).
- Personnel: Chainsaw Sisters (cello); Graham Massey (vibraphone); Paddy Steer (double bass).
- Recording information: Manchester, England; Ridge Farm; The Toy Shop.
- Unknown Contributor Roles: Louise Rhodes; Andy Barlow.
- Louise Rhodes' acrobatic little-girl-lost voice and Lamb's sparse background atmospheres dare you to make the inevitable Portishead comparison. It's a mean and dirty trick, though. Scratch the surface and you'll find that Rhodes and instrumental maestro Andrew Barlow have little in common with Bristol's noir-chic contingent. LAMB carves out a strange space for the Manchester duo between the hectic breakbeat bluster of drum n' bass and the jazz-and-blues-inflected chamber folk of Joni Mitchell and John Martyn.
- Lamb's points of reference are strange but wonderful. Rhodes' delivery combines the traits of a torch singer, an R&B siren, and an acoustic singer/songwriter into a ravishing and complex vocal identity. The very Mitchell-esque "Zero" shivers, bare and beatific, within a minimalist arrangement of cello and electronics. Bounding basslines wrap "God Bless" in the lithe contours of jazz. Vibes serve the same purpose on the frosty "Gold," while blazing trumpet insinuations graze "Closer" and "Merge." Postmodern Classical titan Henryk Gorecki is cited and name-checked in Lamb's staggeringly beautiful extrapolation of the composer's SYMPHONY, NO. 3, OP 36. "Lusty," "Closer," and "Cotton Wool" provide the hyperkinetic drum n' bass rudiments that Fila Brazillia's superlative remix of the latter (an unlisted bonus track) inflates a thousand-fold.
Rolling Stone (3/6/97, p.72) - 3.5 Stars (out of 5) - "...the duo creates a startling tryst of electronic experimentation and traditional songwriting structure....Barlow's beats morph and churn like some ballet-trained monster, while Rhodes' dramatic, smoky voice sails effortlessly overhead..."
Entertainment Weekly (5/16/97, p.117) - "...Her haunting whisper cuts through the mix, giving the grooves and intimacy more attuned to smoke-filled jazz clubs than open-air raves." - Rating: B+
Q (12/96, pp.136-138) - 3 Stars (out of 5) - "...(Lamb) truly exemplify the fluctuating tensions between song form and jungle's undulating rhythms....bass guitar posing counterpoint melodies and Rhodes' dry, haunted vocal floating over the top..."
Muzik (11/96, p.127) - 4.5 out of 5 - "...combines genres, sonics and emotions....this lot has got it down to an art form. You can leave those drum'n'bass Portishead comparisons back in the marketing meetings....Lamb by name. Definitely not sheep by nature."