theories on decay is a five-track e.p. by Lamb. It is an alternative approach to experimental music with bass heavy production, hypnotizing melodies, and a true display of misery for what was with a journey into what can be. The instruments are raw, with little to no editing on their timbres. This matches well with a continuous flow of cutthroat lyrics. These transcend within another to create what appears to be the artist telling the story of their own ego-death.
Experimental music’s goal is to create a statement that will resonate with the listener. That way both the creator can say what they need say vicariously through the ears of their fans. This album takes it a step forward in that this is truly an alternative approach to experimental music. This is done through creating an expansive statement that cannot be summarized with a single statement. theories on decay sounds like a middle ground between Daniel Johnston and post 90’s Radiohead. Both of those artists manage to be more than a single dialogue with the listener, rather a narrative.
Musically, Lamb has created a narrative that is, “I am drowning, but I can breathe,” something that constantly goes back and forth, push, and pull. At first glance, this ep may appear taxing to listen to, but this is not an album to cry to as there is no suffering. Lamb will bring you into their own world and leave you unscathed. Listening is a journey into understanding. And when there is understanding there is selfless compassion. This is very meditative and dare I say, healthy to listen to.
It is vocally where the walls the music had put up start to break. This is an experimental trait, and I think it is an excellent combination. Personally, I love how the vocals are mixed, but that may turn off some. The abundance of distortion and reverb leaves the vocals adding to the music as well as the vocals. I would compare the way the vocals are mixed to Salvia Palth’s Melancholia. Here is where I think the e.p. can be polarizing. But it is also where it bleeds into experimental and punk. The vocals were edited to be more of an experimental hardcore band like the geirogeigeigei. This is not a lofi record. It is low quality production mixed authentically and with finesse. This is not a hardcore record. The vocals come with a ferocity that would appeal to hardcore fans, and that is why I believe people into punk would really admire it.
With this mixing approach, I believe it takes a strong vocal performance to make these vocals stand out as much as they do here. This is important because lyrically, Lamb transcends the “poetry versus songwriting” approach that is usually part of the statement in experimental songwriting. By this I mean, Lamb refuses to let either define them. Brusque songwriting such as, “Am I bleeding out? Am I nodding off? Let me drown in it,” mixed with cryptic lines such as, “somehow get by on presence of mind,” makes for lyrics comparable to Nirvana.
Truly, this e.p. never ceases its onslaught of forward-thinking experimental music. One of my favorites of the year so far.
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You can acquire a copy of theories on decay through Lamb’s Bandcamp page.