My formula for a good trip hop album always include some of the following: female vocalist + electronic influences, female vocalist + pop, female vocalist + ambient. It was not until I got my hands on Lamb’s self titled debut album a few weeks ago that I noticed that female vocalist + drum and bass is actually an interesting choice for a change. It is an old album, sure, I was just starting junior high back when this was released and my interests were completely different back then, and 15 years later here I am, writing a review for it.
I can’t stop thinking on the simplistic and yet effective way this album delivers. On one hand there is the strong drum and bass influenced part of the album, which dominates most of it, and on the other hand you can tell how the momentum starts to fade and it switches to a more traditional trip hop formula towards the end. And that’s probably what I liked the most, that intense drum and bass experience, which comes blended with just the right amount of electronic beats that somehow reminds me of the first Portishead album during certain songs.
Lou Rhodes vocals might seem intransigent at times, and I have the vague impression that there’s a reason for it. The focus is not always her voice, actually it becomes one more layer in the background to assemble a thicker, layered sound whenever the situation demands it. However this harmony is discarded near the end and it is an absolute blessing during the final three songs, proving that there is more to this album than just a merely drum and bass eargasm all the way through.
I was trying to avoid turning this review into a 400 words essay about how good the song Górecki is, and I managed to not mention it during the initial 300. That single song is probably the reason most of us got into this album in the first place anyway, so there’s no reason to keep avoiding it. Yes, it’s an old song by all means, and still feels and sounds new to me every time I listen to it, it turns a dull and rainy afternoon in the perfect scenario, or maybe those lonely and dark hours after midnight into a bearable, even cozy moment.
But maybe the biggest achievement here is the fact that you end up liking the whole tortilla when you were initially driven here for just one song. I would put this album in my list of essential albums for this genre, even though I know there have been so much more emblematic and characteristic ones labelled as such over the years.