As bullish statements of hope-you-like-our-new-direction intent go, the first track released from Lambchops 12th album took some beating. Kurt Wagners Nashville collective have long been more eclectic than the alt-country tag suggests, tackling everything from soul to lounge music, but theyve never tried anything like The Hustles 18 largely instrumental minutes of chugging house beats, softly pulsing electronics, abstract woodwind and sparse flecks of piano. Its utterly lovely, a phrase you could also usefully apply to JFKs haze of vocodered vocals and jazzy piano, or Harbour Countys glitchy synths and echoing guitar. For an artist whos come to electronica relatively late, Wagner seems to have an innate understanding of how to pull it into his orbit. The synths and effects never feel like the result of tentative dabbling: Flotus still sounds like Lambchop, even when it sounds nothing like they have done before. Indeed, it plays out like a counterpoint to the wracked alienation of Bon Ivers recent Auto-Tune-heavy 22, A Million, filled with warmth, wistful nostalgia and soft, autumnal light.
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