Earmarked as the ones to watch in the UK trip-hop scene of the mid-90s, Lamb never quite seemed to fulfil their potential — despite releasing a swag of brilliant singles, from the frenetic B-Line to the hymnal Gabriel, the duo remained a cult proposition until their split in 2004.
Since that time, though, the music made by singer-songwriter Lou Rhodes and electronica producer Andy Barlow has steadily grown in popularity.
“Songs like Gabriel or Gorecki; even if you don’t initially know the name Lamb, chances are you’ll probably know those songs. They’ve stuck around — Gabriel got two million hits on YouTube this year, seven years after it came out,” Barlow told the Star from his home in Brighton, England.
Five years on from their split, the two have reformed and are back on the road. While Rhodes released a couple of critically-lauded solo albums in the interim, Barlow had a more difficult time.
“To be honest, I had a bit of a breakdown when Lamb finished. My identity was so wrapped up in being Andy from Lamb that when it finished, I felt a bit lost and had a pretty major wobble for a few months.
“Then I went travelling for a year and spent time in Nepal, India and Thailand, doing all the things kids do in their 20s but I never had a chance to because I was always on the big rollercoaster of Lamb.”
Having since eked out a successful solo career behind the scenes as a producer and remixer, what was behind the decision to reform Lamb?
“We got offered the chance to do one show at a festival in Portugal earlier this year, out of the blue. That turned into six or seven shows, and I thought, I don’t want this to be some lazy cash cow, I want to present something artistic and different.
“I want to remix the tracks, I want to change how we present it live, I want to commission a filmmaker to make video backdrops — and it’s not worth doing all that just for six shows. Before we knew it, we’d already done 25 shows.”
Much of what made Lamb so musically strong also made them a volatile union: Barlow’s love of cold electronica and Rhodes’ warm, folky voice were a beguiling mix on record, but caused a fair few arguments behind the scenes. Are he and Rhodes gelling now?
“Ten times more than ever. We’ve never been on form like this before. It’s like the old Lamb was Mac OS 9 and now we’ve been upgraded to 10.6, playing with all our new gadgets and gizmos,” the techno geek chuckled.
“And more importantly, we’ve really found our friendship. I think before, we never really fully explored that side of it. I’ve known Lou since I was 18. I’m 34 now. We’re very old friends.”
info: Lamb play Peats Ridge Festival Dec 31; www.peatsridgefestival.com.au, and Prince of Wales in Melbourne on December 30; visit www.princebandroom.com.au

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