The Secret of Letting Go

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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson

British duo Lamb wrote and recorded their seventh studio full-length after completing a European tour which commemorated the 21st anniversary of their beloved 1996 debut. Since that album's release, Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow have continually refined their genre-splicing sound without losing their touch for relating deep human emotions. The duo's songs have often featured complex arrangements that draw from jazz and drum'n'bass, but they've always served as a pedestal for Rhodes' grand, poetic sentiments. The Secret of Letting Go retains that balance of experimentation and pure feeling, and sounds perfectly at home within Lamb's discography. Rhodes' lyrics are heavy on references to physical sensations, particularly touch and taste, and they aim to capture those feelings during particular moments rather than tell stories. As with the group's past albums, the most memorable moments are the ones when Rhodes makes simple phrases sound like big statements. On the title track, written as the group were considering disbanding again, Rhodes proclaims that "the secret of letting go is forgetting to hold on," while "Illumina" reveals that "the dark is how we let the light in." The production is similarly sophisticated without being too excessive, and even though Lamb's fondness for twisted time signatures will never fade, their music is never unnecessarily showy. "Armageddon Waits" injects swells of Bond-worthy cinematic strings, and while it's one of the album's most outwardly expressive, hair-raising moments, it never seems like overkill. The dubsteppy "Bulletproof" slightly indulges in Barlow's inclination for beat trickery, with some crushed breakbeats adding an extra kick of excitement. The duo's string-laden ballads are just as strong as ever, with "Imperial Measures" and "Silence Inbetween" recalling the majesty of earlier classics such as "Górecki" and "Heaven."

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