The Lush-But-Dour Duality of the Southern Thing


Once billed as “Nashville’s most fucked-up country band” (only the Nashville part is true), the too-many-members-to-count aggregation known as Lambchop rides on the at least temporarily slumped shoulders of one bespectacled and trucker-hatted Kurt Wagner. And while his blueprint of lush orchestration and lower-than-the-basement-floor vocals remains, rarely has it conveyed such a sense of impending loss. This is no celebration, but a simultaneous amplification of the pedestrian and muting of the heroic, whether exploring swap meets conducted via Southern radio stations on “Paperback Bible” or denouncing Civil War tactical genius–Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest via “The Decline of Country and Western Civilization.” But Damaged (and it is) saves its most melancholy offering for “I Would Have Waited Here All Day,” with its devastatingly simple closing line: “It’s been a lousy day.”

Lambchop play the Bowery Ballroom September 21,

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