Over his twenty years in Canada’s indie-rock trenches, Steven Lambke has usually thrived in supporting roles. Because the second singer-guitarist for soul-punk rabble rousers the Constantines, he chipped in with a tune or two per file to provide Bry Webb’s moonstruck howl a relaxation. And ever since that band entered its semi-permanent state of hiatus on the finish of the 2000s, Lambke has devoted a lot of his energies to operating the superb Toronto imprint You’ve Modified Data, which he co-founded with roots-rock shapeshifter Daniel Romano. Past appearing as the tap for Romano’s endless circulate of fabric, You’ve Modified has launched artists just like the Climate Station and Nap Eyes to wider audiences, whereas utilizing its platform to make Canadian indie rock much less of a straight white boys’ membership, releasing albums by queer grunge-pop duo Companion, nation spiritualist Fiver, and Indigenous avant-rock artists like Leanne Betasamosake Simpson and Standing/Non-Standing. (He additionally introduced a equally conscientious curatorial experience to his former function because the Inventive Director of Sackville, New Brunswick’s annual indie love-in, Sappyfest.)
However amid all his behind-the-scenes gruntwork, Lambke has by no means stopped making music; for the reason that mid-2000s, he’s launched six solo albums (amongst different tasks), initially below the Child Eagle banner and extra just lately below his personal identify. Because the Constantines grew into their Neil Younger section on their later data, it turned clear that Lambke had a quieter, extra introspective facet, and his earliest solo efforts functioned as reservoirs for a rising repertoire of mellow campfire ballads and laid-back nation shuffles. Through the years, because the Cons light farther from view, he bought extra comfy with turning up the amount a couple of notches, but he remained beholden to a ragged ’n’ rustic rock custom clearly rooted in Neil’s “Ditch Trilogy” days. However Lambke’s quizzical lyrics and inherent peculiarities have at all times saved him from settling into a well-known singer-songwriter archetype. Because the Constantines member chargeable for that band’s most agitated, serene, and cosmic songs, Lambke has a mercurial voice that contorts itself in shocking methods, veering between comforting, plainspoken whispers; a dazed, Dylanesque twang; and an ebullient, high-pitched creakiness that may make him sound like an aged 10-year-old boy, childlike and wizened in equal measure.
The place 2019’s Darkish Blue drifted towards straight-ahead nation rock, Lambke’s seventh album, Volcano Volcano, takes a U-turn from folk-festival respectability and retreats into joyful, junk-shop irreverence. The album was created with help from Romano, his bassist David Nardi, Merge Data artist Carson McHone, and Cons keyboardist Will Kidman, however it’s a bunch effort that has the texture of a airtight home-recording experiment—most likely as a result of Lambke took the mattress tracks and slathered on the form of low-cost supplementary instrumentation (sleigh bells, shakers, tambourines) that will get handed out at kindergarten circle time. Listening to the file seems like a go to to an outdated uncared for household cottage—it’s lined in cobwebs, useless bugs are caked throughout the window screens, and the front-porch floorboards are rotting away, however when you get inside and lightweight up the hearth, it seems like dwelling.