Nixon by Lambchop – Album Review
by Matt Callard
Working up to this quiet masterpiece across four albums of subtle, detailed folk, jangle-pop, country and soul, Nashville’s Lambchop had the odd trough among the peaks.
But this jaw-dropping album is ecstatic peak after ecstatic peak. The band might employ old-time instrumentation – pedal steel, banjo, string bass – but the layers of shimmering soundscapes, where instruments mingle in breathtakingly arranged, densely-textured layers, are as ravishingly cutting-edge as anyone.
“A tidal rush of gospel and blasting horns”
Mainman Kurt Wagner alternates from assured falsetto to wry baritone, adding some of the best storytelling and laser-guided one-liners in modern American music. But it’s the band’s interplay that’s the star of the show – a rare musical alchemy that’s at once familiar and hallucinatory.
Years later ‘Up With People’ remains their anthem, a tidal rush of gospel and blasting horns, but Nixon as a whole remains sweet, untarnished perfection.
A twilight wonder.