Photo credit: Alexandra Wallace
To say that singer-songwriter Chris Lambert’s dedication to his craft is impressive is both a gross understatement and truly false. In fact, Lambert’s dedication to musical perfectionism is beyond impressive and frankly, an absolute treat to listen to. His latest project – Warp & Woof, with fellow California Central Coast native musicians Randall Sena and Sam Cole – is certainly a divergence from Lambert’s multiple releases from the past few years, but nonetheless immediately proved its listenability (this reviewer takes license in using unagreed upon musical terms when it comes to Mr. Lambert.) The band released the first single from the eponymous debut, “Paperback Gatsby”, once again assuring listeners that they needn’t worry whether or not Lambert plays bossa nova, country-western, or noise derived from major adoration of 90’s alt-rock – he will inevitably deliver.
Said Lambert, “I have always wanted to have a good solid rock album in my discography somewhere, so there’s not a single acoustic guitar or keyboard on this entire record.”
What is perhaps most impressive about Warp & Woof is how seamlessly it plays. Lambert has always had a penchant for constructing a fluid narrative within his work, a contiguous realm that has never lent itself to the distraction of segmentation. Upon listening to Warp & Woof one is reminded of a road trip of which the initial impetus was originally aimless.
“I tried to describe the experience of driving from one state to the next, when the colors and landscapes start to blur into one large expanse,” said Lambert. “Green Colorado becomes red New Mexico, and Nevada’s Top Secret desert military bases become the theatrical lights of Las Vegas.”
Aside from a purely geographical venture, Warp & Woof conceptually explores the taciturn areas of road tripping – Area 51 to Dealey Plaza to the White Sands of New Mexico. Lambert’s fascination with the secretive goings on of the American Southwest is juxtaposed perfectly with the inevitable inhibition one looses when a trip becomes less of a chore and more of a discovery.
This reviewer could wax poetic endlessly on Lambert’s excellent writing and themes, but one mustn’t overlook the songcraft itself. Sena and Cole (along with many other central coast musicians recruited for the sessions) coincide with Lambert to create such a tight trio that it’s incredulous to believe that Warp & Woof is their first prolonged and recorded musical venture. Lambert’s uncharacteristically – yet aptly placed – raw guitar over Sena and Cole’s rhythm section harkens back to the 90’s reincarnation of power trios – a prime example of true layering (you read that right, there’s hope yet for industriousness in the business.) And hell, it’s even catchy.
Warp & Woof has succeeded in accomplishing much on their debut. It’s well-attuned, solid rock that defied sacrificing talent for concept. Overall, it’s a joy to spin and a testament to musical fandom translating into an excellent record.
To listen to select tracks, visit their Bandcamp.
Born and raised on classic rock and oldies, Jake Tully consumed music voraciously growing up in Central California. He has his wonderful grandparents to thank for his love of music, as well as the amazing luck to have seen hundreds of concerts in his lifetime. He considers himself an eclectic consumer of all media, and further reading can be found at his blog.