Back in 1994, when Lambchop first lurched lackadaisically into public view, they seemed to many people freakish, outlandish, destined at best for the pages of photocopied fanzines and the graveyard hours of specialist radio stations. A sprawling collective of Nashville musicians-eleven were credited on the sleeve of I Hope You're Sitting Down / Jack's Tulips-they'd named themselves after a sock puppet, inexplicably given their album two titles, and stuck a painting on the cover of a small, barefooted child holding a dog whose cock and balls are on proud display. The album ended up in British music paper NME's Top 50 Albums of the Year. France's similarly influential Les Inrockuptibles placed it at number 25 on their own list. Not bad for a band who had gathered since the mid-1980s, once a week, purely for pleasure, in that smoky, dimly lit basement. Not bad, either, for a record whose sessions were initially only expected to produce enough material for a handful of 7-inch singles. Disheveled yet tender, anarchic yet intricate, I Hope You're Sitting Down / Jack's Tulipsinstead provided the springboard for a career-still ongoing, despite repeated reinventions, and still compelled by stubbornly freakish, outlandish intentions-during which Lambchop's ever-changing line-up has continued to confound expectations. Wagner, meanwhile, remains one of our most cryptic but crucial voices, an authentic poet of the magical banal. Sure, it was weird here, but it was wonderful, too. Over a quarter century later, it still is.
1 Begin 2 Betweemus 3 Soaky in the Pooper 4 Because You Are the Very Air He Breathes 5 Under the Same Moon 6 I Will Drive Slowly 7 Oh, What a Disappointment 8 Hellmouth 9 Bon Soir, Bon Soir 10 Hickey 11 Breathe Deep 12 So I Hear You're Moving 13 Let's Go Bowling 14 What Was He Wearing? 15 Cowboy on the Moon 16 Or Thousands of Prizes 17 The Pack-Up Song