Lamb: Louise Rhodes (vocals); Andrew Barlow.
Additional personnel: Jimi Goodwin (guitar); Graham Clarke (violin); Ben Park (baritone saxophone); Kevin Davy (trumpet); Alice Kinloch (trombone, sousaphone); David Clack (horns); Mikey Wilson (drums); Crispin "Spry" Robinson (percussion).
The Chainsaw Strings: Neil Catchpole (violin, viola); Niroshini Thambar, Ann Wood, Alison Dods, Matthew Ward (violin); John Rayson, Helen Kamminga (viola); Katheryn Locke, Tanera Dawkins, Cathy Rimer (cello); Jon Thorne, Alan Gibson (acoustic bass).
Recorded at The Toyshop, Manchester, and the Townhouse, London, England.
Australian edition features three bonus tracks.
Dismissed in some quarters as a mere addition to the line of Portishead copyists, Lamb's eponymous debut album forced a swift reappraisal. Released three years later, and amidst high expectations, FEAR OF FOURS may not match that masterpiece, but Louise Rhodes and Andy Barlow continue to pursue a unique mix of jazz and drum-and-bass, strings and beats to scintillating effect.
As a statement of intent, "Ear Parcel" epitomises the Lamb ethos, where tinkerbell chimes, a meandering double bass and percussive patter spar with brass squalls and increasingly bruising techno beats in an eight-minute bout. All that it lacks is Rhodes' voice, which moves closer to Billie Holiday than on previous outings, especially on the wonderfully manic "B-Line." Though not as stellar as its predecessor, FEAR OF FOURS is still a classy affair, not least on the heart-stopping, string-drenched "Bonfire." Both "Soft Mistake" and "Five" are atmospheric instrumentals of rare quality. Most startling of all is "Fly"; its clattering drum loop ricochets into an euphoric chorus and a plunging bassline for arguably the finest five minutes of 1999.
What the critics say...
Rolling Stone (9/2/99, p.108) - 3 stars (out of 5) - "...Singer Louise Rhoades...brings an uplifting light to FEAR OF FOURS, vying with partner Andy Barlow's beautifully funereal trip-hop for control of FEAR's soul..."
Spin (8/99, p.155) - 7 out of 10 - "...FEAR OF FOURS shows Lamb to be mad tinkers and progressive thinkers challenging jungle's shrunken-head syndrome."
Entertainment Weekly (8/13/99, p.77) - "...Lamb craft their music quirkily, freighting it with more nuance, musical and emotional, than most techno has..." - Rating: B
Q (7/99, p.118) - 3 stars (out of 5) - "...boasts the best of attitudes: an organic taming of technology, fluid...instrumental interplay and an unconscious blend of genres....prove that Lamb can do daytime Radio 1."
Alternative Press (9/99, p.104) - 3 out of 5 - "...a solid, more developed release. Lamb have tested the strength of their relationship by expanding their vision, and they've come out all the stronger for it."
The Wire (1/00, p.67) - Included in Wire Magazine's "50 Records Of The Year ['99]"
The Wire (6/99, p.58) - "...Lamb keeps things fresh with unexpected variety....Where the music and singing take on an epic quality, a firm dignity keeps everything from becoming pompous..."
Mixmag (5/99, p.147) - 4 out of 5 - "...their music often sounds at war with itself....works beautifully on tracks like 'All In Your Hands' and 'Fly'..."
CMJ (7/26/99, p.3) - "...suprisingly organic....Post-3 a.m. lounge crawlers should consider themselves blessed."
Melody Maker (5/8/99, p.44) - 4 1/2 stars (out of 5) - "...a welcome break from the tyranny of dancefloor 4/4. Beauty is in the holder of this record..."
- Soft Mistake
- Little Things
- B Line
- All In Your Hands
- Less Than Two
- Ear Parcel
- Gorecki - (Global Communication Mix)
- B Line - (Herbaliser Mix)
- B Line - (Lamb Lounge Mix)