Lambchop – Mr M (The Quietus, 2012)

Published in February 2012. Read the full article.

From the piece:

And Lambchop do imagery well. They always have. When the swirling, sentimental strings of ‘If Not I’ll Just Die’ bring the album in, Wagner sets a scene that’s not only easy to picture but subsumes the music he’s singing that picture alongside. “Don’t know what the fuck they talk about: maybe blowing kisses,” he begins, the narrator a cool and detached outsider. Then the strings we’re hearing play under this soundtrack of events. “Grandpa’s coughing in the kitchen but the strings sound good – maybe add some flute.”

But it is debateable whether the link between the album and these paintings, even if it’s being marketed as such, is strong. Eleven dense, thick-black and soft grey images from Wagner’s Beautillion Militaire 2000 series accompany the LP; but the lush strings and twinkling guitars of Mr. M don’t sound thick, or without colour, at all.

An art school student long before he embodied Lambchop, Wagner recently told The Guardian that he “truly intended on just being content being a painter,” that, of music, he had at that time “never looked at it as an end to my creative thing”. If that’s true, it’s all the more reason to doubt a genuine aesthetic analogousness between the paintings and Mr. M. Wagner seems to conceive of them separately, and if he’d been content to be just a painter he certainly isn’t content being labelled just a musician – and these paintings are interesting as examples of another facet of an interesting man than as testaments to how image can feed into sound. There may be a personal link there, but in terms of visual and aural aesthetic, the link isn’t so clear.

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