Kurt Wagner’s Lambchop recently revealed plans for a new album called Showtunes arriving in May. Following on from lead single “A Chef’s Kiss”, today they return with a seven-minute voyage called “Fuku”, as well as a truly unusual mini-film (simply calling it a video doesn’t quite do it justice).
As revealed with the album announcement, Showtunes finds Wagner switching writing style to work on the piano, and “Fuku” is the next example of how that has morphed Lambchop’s sound. A song that seems to move forward almost imperceptibly, as if on a dinghy in a river with barely a current, “Fuku” invites you to spend some time aligning yourself with its motion. Drawing us in are fanfares of cinematic brass that flank Wagner’s piano sketches, there is no doubt in its beauty, but there’s something unavoidably foreboding about the tone – especially as the singer’s voice only ghosts in periodically, full of mournful regrets.
It’s this looming shadow that hangs over “Fuku” that seems to have been the inspiration for Doug Anderson’s mini-film, with Wagner saying:
“There is a theatricality to the song ‘Fuku’ which is a thread that runs through the Showtunes idea. Doug Anderson responded to that like a cat to catnip. On first viewing, the visual might appear a bit unusual, foreign even, but trust me, it could have been a lot weirder.”
Anderson adds: “I heard Kurt’s song and was absolutely in love. “Fuku” evokes all of the things that the musical theater reaches for but is incapable of representing: the desire, longing, and impossibility of really falling in love. It reminded me of the truth in Walter Pater’s “All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.” Pure and abstract.
“The characters in the video try and fail to communicate their experience—they possess nothing and are incapable of giving that nothing to another. Attempting to evoke coherence from the inconsistent, disparate, and stupid. They persist.”
See what you make of “Fuku” below, or find the song on streaming platforms.