Hitting the mark of one’s tenth album release is undoubtedly momentous, yet generally sees a decline in content or a stylistic shift that paints the artist in a context unrecognizable from their early days.
Fortunately, the latter is not the case with Chris Lambert’s tenth record. The Blue Hour is an intricately vexing and remarkably intimate look into the singer-songwriter that ultimately sounds the most comfortable he’s been in years.
Over the course of his incredibly astute career, Lambert has offered forays into a folk concept album, tender bossa nova-infused tunes and an array of sunny Brian Wilson pastiche.
Yet, despite Lambert’s forays into genres and concepts abroad, he seemed to play his cards close to his vest and thrive in the tracks that were more muted and revealing musings. Presenting an exuberant and overtly friendly track was less telling than one that served as ambiance.
The Blue Hour has given Lambert the opportunity to dispense with the artifice of distancing himself via stylistic choice and presents listeners with both vulnerability and insight into a storied career and the working mind of an artist who is seemingly always working on an endeavor.
Aside from providing a heaping slice of insight, Lambert is punctilious in nuancing the record’s production with a haunted and troubled tone. Multiple spins of The Blue Hour doesn’t prove to be worrisome or problematic, however – it’s one of the rare titles that draws one back in to see what else they can glean from Lambert’s musings.
Evoking the likes of Elliot Smith and Sufjan Stevens, Lambert doesn’t solely operate in the vein of hushed and cathartic singer-songwriters. Lambert, like his quieted guitar-toting forefathers, doesn’t need the bombastic nature of production or an explicit genre hook to express himself.
Simplistic, and entirely aware, Lambert proves ten releases down the line that relief, not reinvention was to something formidable.