Lambert & Nuttycombe

At Home

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The story of David Lambert and Craig Nuttycombe's not-quite-success actually says more about both the business and lack of guarantees one can face than most Behind the Music specials about famous groups -- acts that never fully connect beyond a small fan base despite efforts otherwise from a far greater percentage of performers in general, even in the everyone's-a-star days of Myspace and YouTube . At Home's cult appeal doubtless partially results from that history. Released by A&M, it was the closest Lambert & Nuttycombe got to balancing out their spare, reflective sound with wider support (getting co-produced by Glyn Johns near the height of his fame is enough of a sign on its own). Literally recorded at the duo's shared house, the 12-song collection is almost a spiritual cousin to U.K. contemporary Nick Drake's work, the sonic connection of vocal-and-acoustic-guitars-only further heightened by the short songs and bare half-hour length of the album. By taking an understated approach to an already low-key performing style, there's an aching sense of intimacy throughout, and on songs like "Time" and a cover of "Mr. Bojangles," the singers sound like they could be singing as much to themselves as to an audience. This said, there's a brighter glow to At Home in comparison to, say, Pink Moon -- not a bouncily cheery sort, to be sure, but a warmth in the singing and a content, breezy jauntiness on songs like "My Own Beat" and "Ode to Drugan" that almost suggests something like the Beach Boys' "Busy Doin' Nothin." That the duo and this album in particular have received attention and re-releases over the years isn't surprising at all in retrospect, and Fallout's 2007 reissue -- adding no bonus tracks, just letting it stand as it is, beyond a brief biographical note -- is a welcome way to bring the story of a star-crossed duo back once more.

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