Kurt Wagner has addressed loss, death and the indignity of ageing before, but never with quite such weary, stoic melancholy as he emanates here. Even when he lapses into cliche – "We were born to lose", "Who of us now knows where the time goes?" – his lugubrious voice makes you appreciate the feeling behind each commonplace expression. But, as exemplified by the (almost) title track, Mr Met, this quiet desperation is matched, phrase by phrase, with a belief in hope and happiness. It's most movingly articulated in Nice Without Mercy, one of the few songs to directly address the death in 2009 of Wagner's friend, Vic Chesnutt: "And the warm comes back," he sings, his voice just a shiver from accusatory, "even though you thought it would not." Wagner's conflicting emotions are reflected in his band's fluid, conversational playing: restless yet sedate, wistful yet furious, the sound is still on the surface but teeming beneath.
Lambchop: Mr M – review