Chop pop

Thom Dibdin climbs into the fold with Lamb and gambols to Gorecki.

When Louise Rhodes and Andy Barlow. the constituent elements of Lamb. met up while on holiday over New Year. they made two resolutions. Not to have petty squabbles and not to get into brother/sister-type power struggles. As with all the best resolutions. they had been broken within a day.

Chatting to Barlow. it is simple to see how the squabbles occur. His conversation is bright with tangential ideas and newly thought-up philosophies. ‘Do you agree‘." he demands in Paxman-esque tones to one particular idea: inviting debate and disagreement rather than plodding along with the conventional interview relationship. Easy. also. for lazy journalists to create gossipy copy which totally fails to get to grips with Lamb‘s equally intense and vibrant music.

‘Did you see the article in The Hue?‘ asks Barlow. ‘We had four hours together. I ended up playing the piano completely pissed out of my head and it was a wicked interview which went into loads of things. Then the article was about IOO words long. based around the fact that Louise and I hadn‘t


fucked each other.‘

It's a fair enough grumble. but Lamb's other gripe. that interviewers concentrate on the pair's differences. is less supportable. They really are very different. She is older. more mature. They come from different musical backgrounds. Her mother was a folk singer and she moved on to hip hop and soul. He started playing the drums at the age ofeight before moving from the piano to computers at fourteen. This. if anything. is what makes their music so inspired - and inspiring.

If you haven't heard it then you should. Lamb‘s first album is a remarkable juxtaposition of pure song. avant-garde electronica and live instruments over beats and breaks of a drum 'n‘ bass persuasion. The next single (Inrer‘ki. taken from the album. is a useful example. Rhodes‘s clear vocals. withjust a hint of ijrk to it. swoons into life over a backing of strings and gentle piano arpeggios. Then. just as you have got used to the way the hairs on the nape of your neck are refusing to lie down. the accompanying syncopated drum pattern rnutates into a full-throttle. hard- stepping drum ‘n‘ bass beat.

‘Gorecki is a composer.’ says Rhodes. ‘The song was inspired by hearing his third symphony for the first time with somebody very special to me. so it is a combination ofcxperiences. It was one of those intense and perfect moments.‘ Given the song‘s heart-stopping tension. it must have been some moment.

While Lamb have been labelled a ‘dance' act - with a certain justification

given the dancefloor friendliness of some of their songs and many ofthe remixes their music has more in common withjazz. OK. so Barlow is entrenched in his technology with samplers and drum machines providing much of the backbone. but with a trumpet and double bass added to their live act. he is quite capable of swinging the beat along for another eight bars if the situation demands it.

‘When we were recording the album we had never played live.‘ admits Rhodes. ‘but the more we do. the more we want the technology to mutate and


1 v2.35 Lamb looking sheeplsli

develop. Basically. we see ourselves as making modernjazz. Jazz has always pusher] barriers forward. experimenting with new forms and technology shouldn't be a de-skilling thing. Using it live is actually like playing another instrument. The other musicians we play with are pure jazzers. so they are heavily into improvisation. and the more we play together as a band. the more we get into doing that.’

Lamb play The Venue. (Edinburgh. Tue /8 and King Tats. Glasgow, Wed 19 Feb. 'Gm‘er‘ki ' is released on Man I 7 Feb.

O m MUSIC presents

25 29th March

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Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

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Tickets from venue box office, Glasgow Just the Ticket Union St., Edinburgh Virgin 8. Ripping Records and all Tocto outlets c/c 0131-557 6969

40 The List 7-20 Feb-I997