Damaged, claims Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, "deals with dark and heavy concerns related to deeply personal experience", chronicling an apparently troubled year in the songwriter's life. Not that you'd realise that from the songs themselves, which are some of his most opaque and inscrutable, seemingly written in a private language wherein random observations are roughly corralled into lyrics, as in tracks such as "Fear" and "Crackers". The comforts of the arrangements, in which William Tyler's twinkling guitar parts provide most of the significant detailing, ensure that Damaged is never less than agreeable. However, the overall similarity of tone and texture tends to blur the focus, as songs blend into one another via the ambient entractes created from sampled track fragments by Ryan Norris and Scott Martin. When it works, as on "Beers Before The Barbican" and the Swap Shop tableau of "Paperback Bible", the songs glow from within; elsewhere, it's hard to recall the distinct shape of a track.
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