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Lambchop | This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You)

What odd duck Kurt Wagner says isn't always as important as the way he says it.

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The news is fake but the drugs are real. Watching surfers while sitting in a Mexican restaurant bar can be amazing. And Michael Jackson would like to inform you that Santa Claus is coming to town. These are just some of the bizarre things that odd duck Kurt Wagner wants to tell you over the course of This (Is What I Wanted To Tell You), the Nashville outlier’s 13th Lambchop album. Clearly, what the 60-year-old singer-songwriter is saying isn’t always as important as the way he says it. And this time around, he and new musical partner Matthew McCaughan of Bon Iver and Hiss Golden Messenger — who produced and co-wrote large parts of the album over two years and long distances — do their level best to make everyone forget once and for all that Lambchop used to be an alt-country band. Continuing to rely on the synthesizers, processed vocals and electronics of 2016’s FLOTUS (For Love Often Turns Us Still), Wagner and co. produce a tastefully weird (and weirdly tasteful) mutant offspring of alien cocktail jazz, glitchy trip-hop and avant-ambient soundscapery. All the better to support his smeary AutoTuned warble, surreal observations and sombre melodies. So even when he’s telling you something that makes no sense, you’re still compelled to listen. Take it from MJ and Santa.