Lambchop – FLOTUS (Merge/City Slang)

Autotune on vocals is about the last thing I would put on my wish list for the next Lambchop (or any) album but when dealing with a legend like Kurt Wagner (and pals) let’s say we can give him more leeway than most.

And it turns out autotune, which is appalling on all those strident belt it out vocal styles, produces a surprisingly delicate effect in the case of a subtle and restrained instrument like Wagner’s. It acts as a blink and you’ll miss it twist to his low key croon.

So it adds a level of intrigue to opening track ‘In care of 8675309’, something somehow punk rock among the gorgeous lounge soul stylings.

It plays up the funk on a track like ‘Old masters’, a slow and smooching dancefloor jam.

And it adds deep pathos on the title track, a song with an already sad nostalgic air and undercut by softly skittering electronic beats.

For the rest of the album you can drift or you can listen closely, treating it as a warm bath or an aural puzzle, a kind of shapeshifting quality I personally love in an album. It marks a change of direction for the band but there’s an amount of continuity to previous country and soul affairs.

It is a long distance slow burning triumph.


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