Reviews

Pet Lamb - Sweaty Handshake

(Roadrunner)

"This album really is beyond me", wrote Kev, "I thought that you might like it". Well, anything to oblige! Pet Lamb are a Dublin MelodicNoiseCore quartet (it says here), hotly tipped by Therapy? and veterans of support slots on tours by Babes In Toyland and the superb Trumans Water. This, there debut album, includes gentle, reflective songs called things like "Asshole Agony Aunt", "Fun With Maggots" and "The Bastard". Get the picture yet?

Well, it’s not quite that bad! They manage to kick up a hell of a low-fi noise, with guitars all over the place and vocals that sound like they’re coming from the wrong side of a violent storm, but in a couple of places the standard issue "blistering bombast/frustrated noise/frothy speed-melodies" gets channelled towards a tune of no little merit and the resultant cacophony is surprisingly addictive. "Black Mask", for example, wisely the lead track of their last EP, is excellent, even managing to shake off it’s "Teen Spirit"-alike intro, and "Little Meaner" and "Where Did Your Plans Go" are (comparatively) mild enough to go down a storm in a student disco near you. But my main problem with "Sweaty Handshake" is that it lacks the clarity of focus for their rage to actually make much sense: without a greater control of dynamics they can’t help but sound like Done Lying Down with a very bad cold played on a turntable with a very blunt stylus. Still, I could never understand the appeal of Therapy? either, and Pet Lamb win millions of extra points for covering an Alex Chilton song on a free single available with initial pressings.

 

Zeitgeist - Tenderness LP - October 14 1998

PET LAMB - Tenderness LP (Blunt)

Pet Lamb have been plying their trade with this brand of overdriven guitar pop-mush for what seems like decades - and in all those years it seems like they haven't changed a bit. For a good while I thought that they'd decided to hang up their distortion pedals and find themselves jobs at things they might have an affinity with, cos in my opinion music wasn't one of them. Apparently, they went over to New York in 1995 to record with ex-Sonic Youth producer, MARTIN BISI. As far as I know, this album was never released. Well, this is their new album and it seems that they've grown up a fair bit. The unneeded extraneous noise is mostly gone, replaced by audible melodies and vocal lines. In a word, it's accessible and a lot more ear-friendly than anything else they've released. The songs here as immediate but much roomier and although it's predictable enough stuff it's by far the best I've heard from Pet Lamb.

Naive Genius

 

Hugh McCabe - Road Records mailing list - April 1998

April 23 - "On the Irish front, Dublin band Pet Lamb have a stunning new album out this week on Blunt Records. Its called 'Tenderness' and it is anything but. This is possibly one of the best rock albums to come out of this country in a long time, or ever."

April 17 - "On the Irish front this week we have a new album from Dublin's 'Pet Lamb' called 'Tenderness' on Blunt Records. Dublin's greatest noise merchants go all soft on us for this album which has to be said is very much influenced by 70`s rock (The Band etc,) but still totally ass kicking."

 

"Single Reviews" - Metal Hammer - November 1994

"A GENERALLY murky production leaves this Dublin quartet sounding like a really pissed off take on Dramarama, both on 'Black Mask' itself and on 'Cinders'. It might just be an over saturated cassette copy (to be optimistic), in which case there's a nicely passionate feeling trying to break through. In between those two tracks is 'Get Your Socks Off ', which is basically a serviceable riff in search of a song."

 

"News" - Kerrang! - November 1994

"DUBLIN 'MelodicNoiseCore' quartet Pet Lamb will be putting out their debut album, "Sweaty Handshake", through Roadrunner in January. This follows a brace of gigs in October and three EP releases.

 

Chris Watts - Kerrang! - April 1995

"Pet Lamb, the Dublin noise-nerds, start a UK tour at the end of this month!
"Before we toured with Therapy? last year, we'd never done more than five or six dates at a time" says guitarist/vocalist Brian Mooney. "But the Therapy? shows helped to take away our inhibitions about playing live."

The quartet - completed by guitarist/vocalist Dylan Philips, bassist Kevin Talbot and drummer James Lillis - have been closely linked to Therapy? since signing to blunt Records in '93. Blunt is owned by Dan Oggly (now PL's manager) and constantly promoted by Andy Cairns."

"I'd rather not be known as his 'little protégés', but we've known Andy for quite a while," says Mooney. "And he's really helped us out."
A single, 'Where Did Your Plans Go', will precede the dates on April 18. It's taken from their debut album, "Sweaty Handshake".

"Do people need Pet Lamb? Yeah, I think so. We started off a lot slower than "Sweaty Handshake", but speeded up through boredom! Now it's generally fast with a no-bullshit energy level!"

Chris Watts

 

"Pet Lamb" - Hugh McCabe - Road Records - March 1998

"Another band who was signed to Roadrunner for a while is Pet Lamb. The Lamb have been going for 5 years or so and a series of bewildering stylistic changes have seen them veer from My Bloody Valentine / Dinosaur Jr. style noise pop; to straight-ahead punk rock 'n' roll; to their glorious present incarnation which sees them assimilate 70's influences like Beefheart, Television and prog-rock into their own surreal and memorable songwriting style. Their first two EP's were the debut releases of Blunt records (Paranoid From The Neck Down and Spent). Both of these were later released together as the debut Roadrunner album Sweaty Handshake."

"Their second album was recorded with Martin Bisi in New York but they were dropped by the dastardly Roadrunner soon after recording it and it's never been released. Don't fear, their upcoming album on blunt / Independent is massively superior in every respect. A classic, get your orders in now ...."

 

"Other News" - Choc-A-Bloc - Issue 1 - July 1991

"Around the country things are quite busy at the moment. Therapy? continue to thrill crowds all over and they recently played a storming set to a sold out McGonagles...... Féile 91 is the main upcoming event on the Irish rock calendar and there's a great line up in Thurles. Weekend tickets are £34.75 and are well worth it....."

"Pet Lamb are an exciting newish band from Dublin. This 4 piece are already wooing crowds to see them with their brand of sonic noise. Firmly in the mould of Sonic Youth / Dinosaur Jr., they've got some great numbers in their set and hopefully we'll see them in Cork soonish."

 

Road Records - Pet Lamb

Pet Lamb emerged from the wilderness in 1991 and proceeded to introduce Dublin to the supposed sonic delights of underground noise rock. In the early days they distinguished themselves from the pack with their incompetence, drunkenness, and general lack of familiarity with the basic tenets of musicianship and songwriting. Their recording career started in 1993 with the 'Paranoid From the Neck Down' EP, a record which has the dubious distinction of being blunt's first release. This was followed by 'Spent', another lo-fi-speed-garage rock monstrosity. The massive indifference with which these recordings were greeted by the general public prompted a hapless A&R man from RoadRunner records to sign the band on the spot. This unfortunate move resulted in the two blunt EP's being compiled onto the lamb's debut LP, 'Sweaty Handshake'. In a futile attempt to put some shape onto their wayward musical meanderings the label packed them off to New York in 1995 to record their second album with noted producer and defiler of accordions, Martin Bisi. The retrogressive MC5ism's of said album appalled RoadRunner so much that, in a move of commendable vision and foresight, they have refused to release the master tapes to this day.

After being dropped by their label the band suffered a second blow when original drummer, James 'littleass' Lillis, finally saw sense and left the band for a real job. Many hoped that this would be the end of it, but alas no, the drum stool was quickly occupied by Dave 'Dancing Homer' Lacey whose puerile interest in obscure 70's rock and generally unusual predilections appear to have helped quash any hopes there were of the band turning in a sensible recording.

This was borne out by the 1998 release of 'Tenderness', Pet Lamb's first full-length release for blunt. Those critics currently loudly proclaiming this to be a work of depth, maturity, emotional richness and thrilling melodic interplay are obviously sadly deluded individuals who have been intellectually stunted during childhood by listening to too much Beefheart and Television. We can only pity them.

It pains us to have to report this, but there seems to be no indication that the band will cease their activities in the near future. Quite the contrary in fact, as reliable sources inform us that they are eager to return to the studio as soon as possible. On a more positive note though their live activities have become increasingly sporadic. Presumably the sheer embarrassment of playing their material in front of the general public has begun to outweigh the distracting effects of the vast amounts of alcohol and drugs that the band are reputed to consume before taking to the stage.