Dublin Vicar Street
26th October, 2006

View: balcony, centre

Some members of Lambchop formed Hands Off Cuba, who played a curious support slot (20 minutes of indulgent ambient soundscapes) before the rest of the band joined them to warm (and relieved) applause. Five floating and hanging illuminated balloons hosted video footage throughout and, although bordering on pretentious, it drew visual focus from the unanimated band and anti-hero lead singer. Kurt Wagner’s over-emphatic enunciation is distinctive, difficult, but ultimately rewarding. His often incomprehensible drawl invites the listener to hang on his every intonation. The electrifying new album, Paper Back Bible, formed the backbone to a haunting evening of song. Often the lyrics were simplistic, but never hackneyed (unlike the jokes!). Even the banal My Blue Wave sounded exciting, and Nashville Parents proved popular. The intricacy and lingering beauty of New Cobweb Summer sent a shiver down the spine, while the highlight was The Decline Of Country And Western Civilization – a sly concession to their provincial roots, a heritage they’ve masterfully outgrown.

Reviewed by James Masterson
<< Back to Issue 332

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