Up With People

Lambchop Up With People(City Slang)


Up With People [I](City Slang)[/I]

One of the highlights of [a]Lambchop[/a]’s lowlight-lacking ‘Nixon’, this, with Kurt Wagner and co once again transcending their perceived Nashville/new country/ guitars’n’tumbleweed origins. “Used to come from the underground/Yes there comes a booming sound”, Wagner intones on this sweetly, quietly massive all-hands-together trek across open country, linking up with soul and gospel along the way. The use of gospel choruses in rock is usually a cheap device to hire ‘soulfulness’ by the hour, to add a lustre of meaningfulness and authenticity where previously there was none. Here, however, it’s no more than the song deserves.

In the absence of anyone more obviously suited to the task, [a]Lambchop[/a], of all people, have become the carriers of the torch left by Curtis Mayfield; speaking softly but carrying a huge musical stick to the people. Of course, theirs is an oblique, conditional approach, both lyrically and musically. They don’t hark back to ’70s soul in a kitsch or tongue-in-cheek way, but with a wry reverence and memory of what’s been lost along the way. And who knows, this time round they might even reach people and have some sort of hit. The Zero 7 remix of this track is no Armand Van Helden-style metamorphosis, but it does add enough funky touches here and there to lubricate it into the charts without compromising the original.

People, it could happen. Let’s get together and do it.
David Stubbs