*** Lamb, "Fear of Fours," Mercury. The ominous crescendo of "Soft Mistake," the opening instrumental in this Portishead-influenced British duo's second album (in stores Tuesday), prepares you for the emotional turmoil that is to follow. Lamb's sensibility is nervy and hypnotic, but the expertly orchestrated sonic landscapes burst with the jazzy swing of Lou Rhodes' voice. The disjointed fury briefly turns into cabaret opulence on "Softly," one of the album's catchiest moments.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two (fair), three (good) and four (excellent).
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* Excerpts from these albums and other recent releases are available on The Times' World Wide Web site. Point your browser to: http://www.calendarlive.com/soundclips