Album Review: Backspace Unwind by Lamb
Lamb has been a fairly ongoing project formed by a female vocalist (Lou Rhodes) and electronic producer (Andy Barlow). They are known for wonderful juxtapositions of electronic grooves and textures with the tender melody that Lou Rhodes brings with her, and all the while inspired by jazz, drum and bass, trip-hop and many other musical influences. This album I'll babble about this time is Backspace Unwind, the group's second album released after their indefinite hiatus around 2006. Compared to all other albums before it, Backspace Unwind is quite minimal and much more focused on atmosphere. Once more, the band is seemingly comfortable with less according to the thoughts of the band that have been published on their website. The band calls many of the songs they wrote for the album as a type of meditation. It reinforces an idea that I, myself believe in when playing music: that space where notes aren't played are just as important as the notes that fill in space, if not even moreimportant.
Lou describes her experience as this: "“Over those years I think we've learned that this journey needs no map; in fact tearing that map up, at every twist and turn, has become our regular gleeful practice.” After my first listens to the album I felt that less experimentation was present overall, but after reading up on inspirations for each song I've come to see that Lamb has worked hard to break their own preconceptions, and that there is creative risks taken here that aren't terribly obvious (http://lambofficial.com/backspace-unwind-overview/ ). And still, the impression that the album in it's entirety leaves on me seems just a bit lacking compared to albums like 5 and Between Darkness and Wonder. It could be that, being such a fan of interplay between serene and rough patches (especially apparent in "As Satellites Go By" and "What Makes Us Human"), the meditative nature of many songs without a striking juxtaposition don't stand out as much to me. My opinion can often change depending on the week or even the day, when I have time to ruminate on my thoughts, that much is for sure. So at the moment, I can say that Lamb is still in a wonderful creative position and I still have the utmost faith in their musicianship, despite the lack of impact some of these songs have on me in the long run. For anyone aware of past works Lamb has produced, I will warn you to have an open mind when considering the worth of this album. And for people who have no idea about the band thus far, don't despair if the album is not to your liking; there are past albums that open up completely different roads of the imagination for you to try next.
Review by Travis Strong