Julie Lamb: Ordinary Days (julielamb.co.nz)

 |   |  1 min read

Why Do I Forget
Julie Lamb: Ordinary Days (julielamb.co.nz)

First a big tip o' the hat to Wellingtonian Lamb's packaging of this album: it comes in CD-sized cardboard box which contain the disc in a gatefold cover (with download code), lyrics on 10 playing card-sized illustrated cards in a small envelope, colourful bulldog clips (again in the themed artwork) and a die in plastic pack, instructions on how to make your own traffic cone (funny given most city dwellers see quite enough already) and a fold-out sheet with studio session photos on one side and the artwork again (by Deb Mansfield) on the other.

Then there are the songs.

Lamb carries an excellent band – the solo space offered guitarist Matt Fitzpatrick is never squandered as he adds necessary grit or fire -- which can get deep, broody and disconcerting on the moody ballad Why Do I Forget; crisply funkish and jazzy on Bleeding Numbers, a touch of wah-wah reggae on Mind Flit and just enough Steely Dan-like in other places.

Lamb is a lyricist with something to say about corporates, the ideas that run through her head by night and day, a delight in Ordinary Days (which elevate the relationship) and more. She sometimes tries to pack too much information into her lines (“procrastination hit me like a Stonehenge rock”, “you seem to think I'm a neophyte, treating me like I don't have a right”) but, as with Ross Mullins whom we've mentioned previously, she tells her own story her way. Despite the lyrically dense Standing Proudly (the neophyte song) she conveys her quiet anger and self assertion, assisted by the punchy horns and Fitzpatrick's terse solo.

The oddest piece is Hashtag On A Good Day which a kind of a cappella, tongue-in-cheek paean to Wellington where you wear summer clothes and winter socks, get to go to cafes a lot and so on. It is sung as rounds and is cleverly arranged but the humour palls after a couple of plays. It probably goes down a treat in a Wellington cafe.

The better material is in the more direct and personal songs (Simple, Jean Pierre which opens with “I've been running late for 10 years now” then moves into early Suzanne Vega territory).

Julie Lamb has thoughtfully presented an interesting album and sounds like she'd be worth catching in a cafe concert . . . but if she saved Hashtag on a Good Day for the encore I'd be heading towards the cash register and on the way out.

For more on Julie Lamb check her website here

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Dolly Parton: Little Sparrow (Sugar Hill)

Dolly Parton: Little Sparrow (Sugar Hill)

One person who has got better in recent years - but whose audience has diminished - is Dolly Parton who last week picked up a much-deserved Grammy for best bluegrass recording. Her last album... > Read more

Van Morrison: Duets; Re-working the Catalogue (Universal)

Van Morrison: Duets; Re-working the Catalogue (Universal)

Duet albums are often the last refuge of senior citizen scoundrels, the deceased (current artists singing along with a dead hero's classics) or phoned-in studio constructions. In his defense... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BULFORD KIWI; THE KIWI WE LEFT BEHIND by COLLEEN BROWN

THE BULFORD KIWI; THE KIWI WE LEFT BEHIND by COLLEEN BROWN

The question is very simple and so should the answer be, but let's ask it anyway. When World War I ended with the armistice on November 11, 1918 what happened to the thousands of New Zealand... > Read more

GUEST WRITER SOMSAK LANTANA offers poems of elegant and honest simplicity

GUEST WRITER SOMSAK LANTANA offers poems of elegant and honest simplicity

My friend Somsak (James) Lantana from Thailand is not just an excellent chef, but also a very generous one. He has previously shared recipes with me and we posted one for Thai chicken (superb!)... > Read more