Lambchop/Hands Off Cuba
Looking over Lambchop’s vast Nashville-wrought ’70s AM radio country catalog, it doesn’t seem aching to cut up and re-spliced at the hands of two electronic artists. Kurt Wagner’s outfit is the epitome of languid melancholy, a lilting lullaby for a smoker’s drawl extolling the regrets of the past and potential worries of the future. CoLAB dispenses with any potential misgivings a listener might have about glitch dissection ruining the band’s sophisticated sound. Fledgling duo Hands Off Cuba extensive reconfiguration retains the same somber sweeping grandeur inherent in the original versions of these songs. The breakbeat flourishes on “Blur” come only when the lipid strings and electronic swells give them momentary free reign. “Women,” the most alien sounding of the three tracks included on the EP, comes the closest to giving up the ghost entirely, but remains rooted in southern gothic thanks to a minor chord piano melody in the midst of gelatinous otherworldly squishes and mechanical insect calls. In a move which can only be called “having balls,” the EP begins with “Prepared,” a new Lambchop original only garnished incidentally by Hands Off Cuba with some light programming. It’s almost a schematic to show the steps from Point A to Point B once an organic song is put through the processing machine. It’s a rarity for this kind of a release, which usually tries to coast by on the strength — in a relative sense — of the DJ commandeer a band’s route toward the dancefloor. Though “Prepared” reaffirms that Lambchop in its purest form is still the best way to experience the band, this intimate approach to remixing is far superior to the impersonal industry standard.