Reviewed by Kit Burns
You can almost compare LambBone, otherwise known as John Lamb, to Ben Folds. The piano-based rock is a dead giveaway to one of Lamb’s major influences, not to mention some of the caustic lyrics, such as those found on “News.” But while Folds is often tightly knit with his alternative roots, Lamb knows no boundaries, shuffling the deck with pinches of jazz, Latin music, funk, psychedelia, and blues. LambBone is so eclectic that a new term needs to be defined for music that crosses borders in such a schizophrenic fashion. Surprisingly, LambBone’s stylistic derring-do is not confusing at all; this isn’t the mad creativity of Frank Zappa on the loose but rather a gifted, versatile musician utilizing all of his strengths.
At times, especially on the title track, “One of the These Nights,” and “Cleveland Blues,” Lamb recalls Joe Jackson in his late ’70s-early ’80s prime. While the tracks don’t have the kinetic energy of Jackson’s vintage bile, Lamb’s voice is reminiscent of Jackson’s in his more mellow moments. Jackson, too, was a rock & roll iconoclast, leaping from genre to genre with every succeeding album. Lamb takes it a step further, doing all of that on the same record. “Be My Girl” has a soft, jazzy foundation while the satirical “Lawyer” would make Randy Newman proud with its pointed wit.