In any relationship, difference is the dynamic that makes magic happen. In musical partnerships, it’s often the crucial friction that makes creative sparks fly but, a fraction too much friction, and everything’s likely to go up in smoke.
Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow understand difference more than most. They’re the first to admit that when they got together their diametrically opposing aesthetics – Lou’s devotion to The Song, Andy’s obsession with all things beats-driven and electronic and his complete disinterest in vocals – created problems. Often, the very glue that bound them together nearly saw them come unstuck. But those differences also bred a mutual respect and resulted in one of the most genuinely genre-bending dance albums of the mid-90s. In 1996, when drum’n’bass ruled, Lamb’s eponymous debut LP up-ended the rigid idea of that form by warming its distinctively chilly, tacheometric chatter with injections of jazz, classical, blues, techno and hip hop and giving it an intensely personal, highly emotional charge. The sweetly stuttering ‘Cottonwool’ and divine ‘Gorecki’ singles showed that drum’n’bass could do much more than just make feet move quicker – it could make hearts beat faster, too.