OUT LIKE LAMBS - Out Like Lambs

Out Like Lambs - Out Like Lambs

4 songs
25:30 minutes
***** ****
(DIY)

Bandpage

A first glimpse would make you believe to be in the presence of another folk duo from the United States. New Jersey based artists Rachel Ade (vocals) and Michael Lucio Sternbach (guitars) have all the prerequisites for that genre. And just too often, lo-fi folk with a distinct Americana touch drifts off into insipid singer/songwriter territories. Not so Out Like Lambs, though! The short three minute opener Bygones may not be a too promising entry into their self-titled EP, but the three following longer tracks, all between six and nine minutes, take fully advantage of the seventeen (!) collaborators who help give the music a magic touch that flirts with psychedelia, avant-garde, jazz and so much more while always making sure that everything retains its laidback atmosphere.

Especially the frenzied playing of the trumpet and violin elevate the otherwise brittle compositions above the archetypical folk mechanisms, and it doesn’t take too long for me to be reminded of mid-Seventies Robert Wyatt (Rock Bottom, Ruth Is Stranger Than Richard) and late period Talk Talk (Spirit Of Eden, Laughing Stock). There is also an element of improvisation, but it’s embedded so seamlessly that the different songs never even have a chance to become tedious. On the contrary, you’d wish them to go one forever.

I am not too familiar with the duo’s origins or their collaborators, but violinist Laura Ortman should be well known from her contributions to The Dust Dive and Stars Like Fleas, two references that should help you peg Out Like Lambs’ musical whereabouts. Your average lo-fi fan might be challenged by the complexity of the material, but an open mind should ease their access to his splendid EP that seemingly came out of nowhere. Those who prefer their music with an artistic twist will on the other hand instantly be enchanted by the incredible ease with which this collective tackles a conglomeration of genres that would leave lesser musicians stranded. This self-titled record is not only excellent, but also totally unexpected!

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