With nearly a dozen years of releases under their belt, Lambchop have rooted around in their attic and cellar for this revealing set of odds and ends. Rather than adhering to a chronological parade, the set has been smartly sequenced to shine a light on their aesthetic inclinations. Moody countrypolitan rubs shoulders with rural-infused and relaxed urban soul.
Some of these songs were B-sides, some are remixes and compilation tracks, and many have never seen the light of day before. Though he claims to have taught it to them wrong, Vic Chesnutt’s “Miss Prissy” adds majestic atmosphere to this small but oddly compelling character study. (They recorded it for the Chesnutt tribute album of several years back; it didn’t make the cut, but led them to team up with Chesnutt for his album The Salesman And Bernadette).
The retrospective view of Tools In The Dryer allows even Lambchop’s earliest songs to resonate forward, foreshadowing their future direction. It also gives those early recordings the advantage of being surrounded by a broader base of playing, arrangements and fidelity. Kurt Wagner’s vocals have gone from stylistic explorations to confident individuality. In recording studios, bedrooms, living rooms and onstage, this densely populated ensemble creates a subtly deep tapestry of sound. This disc is full of their wonderfully rich juxtapositions, as horns blend with steel guitar and massed guitars sometimes sound no louder than a light wind through a tobacco barn.