Here comes Mr. M, the man you once knew in your past or the man you used to be depending on what mood you’re in when you hear Lambchop’s new release. A painter turned singer songwriter, Kurt Wagner has written his latest album as if it were his last. Pairing up with Mark Nevers, a Nashville producer yearning for the sounds of a “psycadellic Sinatra,” the two created something very smooth.
After the loss of a dear friend Kurt returned to the silence and solitude of painting which led to the creation of the debutante themed album art. From that process Kurt regained the strength to communicate with the public again and this tragic moment in life becomes one long song. Sonically we travel from the peaceful coasts of Hawaii to a hole in the wall Harlem jazz club and from a French café overlooking the Louvre to a wet basement full of sentiments. Through the atmosphere alone of each and every song, conveyed with ominous strings, loungey drum fills and bossanova guitar stylings we know exactly where Kurt is and we’re right there with him in the drudges.
Timeless and filmic in nature, this self-proclaimed “indirect communicator,” very clearly gets across the message of finding your way again when life gets you down. With stream of conscious style lyrics and a Tom Waits approach to singing, Lambchop seems to have mastered the art of letting a song breathe the way a painter must let a layer dry before assessing what else is to be done, if anything at all.
Much like a good background actor can add more to the scene with subtlety than the ego in the limelight, Mr. M seems to lend itself to something more with humility and grace. “Never My Love” is my favorite on the album, coming across as the most cohesive of the songs with “My Blue Wave” coming in second. No clear single jumped out at me, but whether that’s a good or bad omen will be revealed in time.