It’s been quite some time since we’ve heard from post-punk noise weirdos Lamb’s Legs. Their last release, the six-song Summer of Lamb’s Legs EP, was unleashed nearly three years ago, and in the time since, the band picked up a new bass player in Peter J. Woods, then subsequently lapsed into inactivity when Woods shipped off to Cambridge, MA for school. Somewhere in that timespan, though, the foursome managed to record their longest release to date, A Dozen Torsos Within Spitting Distance, at the dearly-departed Borg Ward with Jay Linski. Picking up where Summer of Lamb’s Legs left off, Torsos takes the bleak urban decay of their previous releases and slathers new layers of sonic experimentation and gallows humor like streaks of gravel-laden honey over Kevin DeMars’ always-punishing drums and Jeb Ebben’s sparsely fuzzed guitar.
Woods’ dexterous bass scales lend an almost jazzy sense of melody to compositions like “The Flaying Song” and the near-eight-minute “Plague Song,” providing a musical counterbalance to vocalist Bjorn Severtson’s distinctive Dave Thomas/Ian Curtis-alternating yelp/drone. The driving “I Want To Believe” is hilariously unnerving as Severtson, vocals poking in and out of the mix, speculates on which public figures may or may not be lizard people in an almost uninterested deadpan (Barack Obama: no; Rex Ryan: maybe?). But when he’s wailing “Bring out your dead!” at the end of “Plague Song,” he and the rest of the band are certainly in the moment, lurching and pulsing through sinewy guitar lines and punching as if they were sawing cadavers into teensy-weensy pieces.
Lamb’s Legs unabashedly worship at the altar of blighted art-rockers like Pere Ubu and straight-up Jandek-style oddity, churning through chilled-out sparse creepiness, twisted fall-apart sequences, and hard driving post-punk riffs with a Silly Putty pliability that’s utterly engrossing and captivating. While we have no idea when we’ll be able to experience one of Milwaukee’s most delightfully and compellingly strange bands next, at least we have new music to tide us over. Prior to the album’s May 13 digital release, tear off a warm chunk of A Dozen Torsos Within Spitting Distance, streaming in its entirely at Milwaukee Record.