Bass-n-drums/trip-hop/pop hybrid Lamb select their finest work for this overview of their first four albums, including tracks from the import-only WHAT SOUND.
Personnel: Louis Prima Stan Rhodes (vocals, guitar); Oddur Mar Runarsson, Jimi Goodwin (guitar); Stephanie Bennett (harp); Sarah Liew, Michele Richards, Sara Parkins, Liz Chi Yen Liew, Joel Derouin, Matthew Ward, Duchess Nell Catchpole, Anne Wood, Charlie Bisharat (violin); David Campbell , John Rayson, Helen Kamminga, Bob Becker (viola); Cathy Rimer, Kathryn Locke, Tanera Dawkins, Larry Corbett (cello); London Session Orchestra (strings); Mac Robertson (piano); Graham Massey (vibraphone); Paddy Steer, John Thorne, Allan Gibson (double bass); Nicolaj Bjerre (drums).
Audio Mixers: Ali Staton; Alden Love; Jim Abbiss; Gavyn Wright.
Liner Note Authors: Louis Prima Stan Rhodes; Andy Barlow.
Lamb got tagged as trip-hop when its first album came out in 1997, but as the early songs on this compilation attest, the Manchester duo was actually closer to drum-and-bass or jazz-inspired jungle than the more dub-blunted beats of contemporaries Tricky, Massive Attack, and Portishead. Defined by the go-for-broke vocals of Louise Rhodes and the icicles-down-the-spine electric stand-up bass of Andrew Barlow, Lamb is really in its own world.
"Cotton Wool" features almost abstract jungle-beat sputtering, while "Gorecki" brings in sweeping synths, piano, and tablas to lift Rhodes's vocals towards a transcendent spiritual rush (a la peak Moby). As this disc moves chronologically through Lamb's catalogue, one finds the balance slowly swinging away from tingly drum-and-bass freak-outs ("Little Things" and "B Line") towards more string-infused balladry ("Bonfire" and "Lullaby"). By the time BEST KEPT SECRETS gets to "Gabriel" and "Stronger," Lamb's sound has grown smooth and seductive enough to be ready for late-night FM radio, while losing none of its underground trip-hop edge.