Last updated: 07/02/2012 12:00:00 PM
Lamb formed in Manchester in 1995 and were signed almost immediately afterwards by Skint records on the strength of a brilliant two song demo. Studio wizard Andy Barlow and his singer Lou Rhodes found themselves making their debut album Lamb?before they really got to know each other!
The relationship between the pair began as anything but smooth, both highly opinionated they often found themselves in arguments, especially in interviews where heated comments and conflicting views often shot over the table. But as musicians they made an outstanding duo. Lou remains a defender of 憈he song?above all else and says that a good song is timeless. Andy readily admits: "When Lamb started I thought I didn't want to make pop music. Lou would be writing these love songs, but I'd be trying to make something dark, almost unloving."
But when the Lamb LP?was released in 1996 the conflict was turned into beauty, it trashed the rulebook and invented a whole new style, which other groups are still trying unsuccessfully to copy. After the release of the debut album Lamb they took an 18 month tour which was responsible for helping to secure Andy and Lou抯 partnership both personally and musically. After this tour they were both itching to get back into the studio to record their second album.
Back in Manchester in spring 1998 Lou gave birth to a baby boy who she named Reuben, which totally altered the atmosphere in the studio.
"Although it does put a lot of demands on me and my energy," she says now, "it changes your view on life totally. In some ways it's mellowed me out, but it makes everything more intense - the peaks and troughs - and it makes you realise you're a lot more mortal than you thought. It's a great leveller."
"I think writing an album is as close as a guy's going to get to having a kid," adds Andy. "All the time you can feel yourself changing but it's not actually until the end of it, when you can listen to the whole lot, you can see what it is you've created."
The second album 慒ear of Fours?was recorded over a nine month period and reflects the trust that has grown between Lou and Andy, they even started agreeing more! In the song 慉lien?it features the unborn heartbeat of Reuben which adds to the eerie side of the album.
Typical Lamb. They have to do things differently. That difficult second album often brings out the kind of internal wrangles and heartache that are the undoing of many a band. But not Lamb. They'd been there and done that all already. 慒ear of Fours?is a unique approach to music and a change from the heated first album but still with the Lamb individuality.
"Even though were constantly battling, the last album sounded placid," Andy concludes, "Deep, but very still on the surface. This one's certainly got bigger breakers on it. You'll be swimming around quite peacefully, then a giant wave will just take you out."