It seems to be a time of collaborations. The last week alone has brought us releases from Goldfrapp teaming up with Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahn, Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell and Danny Caughlan and Underworld writing dub with Iggy Pop over an afternoon cuppa. This latest collaboration between Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay of Tunng came into being when the pair met at a Neil Young after party.
Marling wrote the lyrics inspired by Ivor Cutler and the Surrealist Manifesto to Lindsay’s largely pre-produced aural drones. Marling’s voice often reaches into the falsetto range that was explored on her 2017 Semper Femina album. Backed by Lindsay’s electronica it sounds very Goldfrapp’s Seventh Tree. Which is no bad thing. The band was named by Marling’s Goddaughter and LUMP has become manifest as the dancing Yeti who stars in the video for single Curse of the Contemporary.
Opening with Late to the Flight its lyrical content of superficiality, emptiness and the modern human condition runs through the album. Its layered harmonies and looping harpsichord back the tale of a man killing off an online persona. The amazingly talented Laura J. Martin played flute throughout this record and it provides delightful texture to May I Be the Light as Marlings voice moves more towards the falsetto. However, it drifts into the more soulful on Rolling Thunder and with a remix this would make a cracking summer house anthem.
The single Curse of the Contemporary is where the record reaches maximum Alison Goldfrapp. Marling lamenting the superficiality of her former home of Los Angeles with the latter stages featuring a crashing, tray like synth sound. A bit like when Spider Stacy of the Pogues used to beat himself with a drinks tray.
Hand Hold Hero is more like the sound of Marling on her Once I Was An Eagle album but with a backing synth that sounds very much like Pink Floyd’s On the Run from Dark Side of the Moon. Shake Your Shelter was inspired by a friend of Marling’s that was bitten by a crab. Layered dream like harmonies return and a bass sound that I can’t help but shake Robbie Robertson’s Somewhere Down the Crazy River. LUMP (credits) are literally that. Just over two minutes of Laura crediting those who worked on the album to a Lindsay soundscape. The cynic in me thinks this serves the purpose of pushing the record over the thirty-minute mark and bumps it up to seven tracks. Making it an album not an EP. Definitely not an EP….
If you’re a fan of Marling, Tunng, later Goldfrapp or Bjork then you will really love LUMP. It’s certainly an indication of a collaboration that has potential but with a new Tunng album on the horizon and Marling’s solo work, I wonder if this side project has legs for the future.