Treasure Chest of the Enemy [2002]

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It certainly speaks volumes about the state of contemporary music that Lambchop's leftovers are light years better than most artists' best work, a sad state of affairs you can either waste your time bemoaning or instead seeking solace in Treasure Chest of the Enemy, a ten-song CD-R released to celebrate the band's 2002 tour. Issued just weeks after the brilliant Is a Woman, this collection of odds and ends often seems cut from the same cloth -- the songs are spare, piano-dominated affairs, although far more suggestive of demos than the stripped-down but full-bodied atmospheres dominant on Is a Woman. The highlights come early: the opening "The Fade Away Jumper" is a classic slice of Muscle Shoals-influenced tomfoolery, and better still is "The Gettysburg Address," a lovely guitar and piano ballad featuring one of frontman Kurt Wagner's most affecting vocals. Limited to 1,300 copies, and absolutely essential for fans. [An earlier release under the same title was made available during a summer 2001 European tour; this edition adds three tracks.]

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