Release Date: Jun 1, 2018
Record label: Dead Oceans Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
When you think about it, the Cassandra of Greek legends and the Lorax of Dr. Seuss's canon are the same character. Sort of. I mean, OK, one was a human who foresaw the fall of Troy, while another was an orange fuzzy ball that tried to stop an industrialized city from destroying the earth. But you ….
Across five albums, Laura Marling has always threatened to stray from the path, while never quite actually making the steps. LUMP - a new collaboration with Mike Lindsay of rustic folk group Tunng - sees the itch well and truly scratched. A perfectly contained six tracks, 'LUMP' trades Laura's signature, breezy acoustic guitars for swelling synths, and pulls apart and rearranges her traditional song structures like they're playdough.
"LUMP is a product," Laura Marling declares on the final track of her first collaborative LP with Mike Lindsay. LUMP is the moniker they've given both the project and its debut, but the album's designation as a "product" in its closing moments carries more thematic weight than the word "LUMP" itself--a title randomly selected by Marling's six-year-old goddaughter. The contrast between the amorphous band name and its sterile classification as a product mirrors the music throughout the record, which wraps prickly observations about lifestyle consumerism in bales of gorgeous melody and grumbling dissonance.
to assimilate is to disintegrate I'm erring increasingly convinced that LUMP, the fuzzy red character Laura Marling channels her new songs through, is a visual representation of the songwriter's newfound zaniness. The music videos released in anticipation of this album posit the character as a symbol: Curse of the Contemporary sees Lump graduating the school of Thom Yorke throwdowns in front of a backdrop of shifting settings. In Late to the Flight, the big red yeti is consistently the brightest thing in frame.
As spontaneous in process as in final result, LUMP, the new collaboration between Laura Marling and Tunng's Mike Lindsay, is remarkably fresh and hauntingly irresistible. The duo's self-titled debut album, LUMP, feels shrouded in mythology: like the cover, which presents the album's protagonist (a yeti-like creature that Marling and Lindsay affectionately play music for); and the lyrics themselves, which Marling sings as if recalling a dream. According to more legend, Marling and Lindsay met outside of the O2 Arena in London, whilst Marling was supporting Neil Young in June 2016.
LUMP is the colourful contemporary project created by Mike Lindsay, Mercury prize-winning producer and founding member of Tunng and Laura Marling, the Grammy nominated, brit award winning singer-songwriter. Following the birth of Lindsay's new compositions, with Moog synthesisers set above rapturous drums and swirling clouds of flutes, his project was in need of a vocalist. Having been introduced to Marling after her show supporting Neil Young in London in 2016, Marling was invited to take flight into an experimental world, resulting in a compelling narrative on themes including the lengths we go to escape our own meaninglessness and the emptiness of contemporary life.
In an attempt to define the structure of the surrealist painting, the artist Max Ernst posited that it involved "a linking of two realities that by all appearances have nothing to link them, in a setting that by all appearances does not fit them". For an album indebted to the surrealists, we're told, it seems fitting that the LUMP project's first seeds were sown by a chance encounter between Mike Lindsay and Laura Marling at a bowling alley, a venue whose incongruity was only made more so by its inapropos situation under the vast canopy of the O2 Arena, already quite a strange setting in itself. Marling was there supporting Neil Young, while Lindsay – of then-dormant avant-folk-electronicists Tunng – had recently put together what became this album, but was in need of a vocalist and lyricist.
LUMP, a collaboration between Tunng founder Mike Lindsay and Laura Marling, is cool and enveloping, a mesh of luminous electronic textures and subtly placed instruments, all arranged around Marling's silvery voice, often doubled or overlapping in harmony. A dream-like calm prevails, through oscillating dervish whorls of flute sound and glitch-y shuffling beats. Lyrics run placidly on the surface, full of striking literal images, but there are eddies and undercurrents of double meanings, allegories and hidden allusions.