Steven Lambke has a heavenly theme going for his latest recording, and it’s no accident. After several excellent rock records as Baby Eagle, Lambke brings his signature raspy voice to folk for a gentle, spiritual serenade. Despite the provocative album cover, Lambke doesn’t try to be too subversive; rather, he goes all in on the imagery of the moon, the sun and the sky above as they relate to love.
As per usual for a You’ve Changed Record release, Lambke has an all-star cast of backup musicians. Constantines bandmate Ian Kehoe is on the drum kit; The Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman does guitars and vocals; Timber Timbre’s Mika Posen does strings. So of course the arrangements are beautiful; the gentle strings of “Hummingbird” blend seamlessly with Lambke and Lindeman’s vocals and make the song as airborne as the bird the song is named after.
The title track is a good illustration of the album’s theme; extraordinary, beautiful things can occur as readily as something you’d see everyday. “Sunflower Mind,” with its fittingly sunny guitar intro, reminds us that there’s more to nature than we perceive. “A Good Light and Tired Feeling” seems to suggest death is inevitable, but also kind of beautiful. A lyric like “I cut my finger on the pieces/ And saw my blood was filled with blooming flowers” is a wonderful juxtaposition.
Occasionally Lambke brings out his Baby Eagle side. “Memory Forever” noodles around with some reverbed guitars before later breaking into some great group vocals. “Dead Stones” is Lambke at his loudest, and it’s perfect for the almost biblical pronouncements Lambke makes in the song.
But while the album started with days of heaven, it ends with “Days of Rough Grace.” It’s all uncertainty: the narrator will never know how deep his love ran, nor will he ever know how close he came to the man he tried to be.
Life is beautiful, life is uncertain. Can’t get much simpler than that.
Top Tracks: “Memory Forever”; “Moonshine Brother”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)