Lullaby for the Working Class hails from Nebraska and combines the '90s chamber pop sounds of Lambchop and Tindersticks and the country-rock stylings of Gram Parsons. Originally the band started out as a two-piece with Mike Mogis and Ted Stevens, both singer/songwriter musicians. To make the band complete, AJ Mogis (bass) and Shane Aspegren (drums) joined Lullaby for the Working Class and shortly thereafter the band inked a deal with Bar-None Records while making themselves noticed at various gigs in and around N.Y.C., specifically at the CMJ Music Festival. Their 1996 debut Blanket Warm was critically acclaimed, making ways for fellow Nebraska bands (Commander Venus, Norman Baylor, We'd Rather Be Flying) to venture outside the cornhusker state. A sophomore effort I Never Even Asked for Light Followed in 1997 and Song was released two years later.
Their "chamber folk" was further refined on I Never Even Asked For Light (Bar/None, 1997). The sound of this album is sleepy and abstract, often hypnotic, as it lulls the elusive melody in a sea of warm tones. An orchestra of guitar, bass, banjo, mandolin, ukulele, kalimba, dulcimer, trumpet, trombone, clarinet and percussions transforms each song into an intense sonic experience.
The structure is often free-form. The melody of Irish Wake follows countless detours, while mandolins are plucked like harpsichords and violins float like kites. Ditto for In Honor Of My Stumbling: instruments and melody follow lines that are not well-drawn, focusing on the content rather than on the form.
This is not to say that emotion has no part of it. On the contrary, tender emotions surface from Jester's Siren (with echoes of Leonard Cohen and early Neil Young) and particularly This Is As Close As We Get, possibly the most personal song on the album.
Furthermore, the Lullaby displays a bolder rhythmic emphasis that, united to the "open" format, propels energetic and jagged numbers.......