LUMP: LUMP (Dead Oceans)

Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay of electro-folk outfit Tunng team up to create impressive, occasionally surreal debut LP

Released Jun 1st, 2018 via Dead Oceans / By Emilie Kneifel
LUMP: LUMP (Dead Oceans) When Laura Marling met Mike Lindsay of Tunng, LUMP was born: the band, the self-titled album, and the ginger yeti. Marling and Lindsay talk about LUMP as if he’s his own being, and the album really does sound like an autonomous creature, breathing between Marling’s voice and Lindsay’s beats and fluttering flutes. It hums with its own regenerative gait. An underlying lifeforce born of the tension between sounds. An instantaneous momentum, unleashed.

On LUMP, Laura’s characteristic folky lyrics have lurched into surrealist whimsy. She muses on sleep -- “Sleep like a teen,” “Please don’t leave your bed in a mess” -- and the fluidity of that state: “I’m your mother, I’m your father/ We would dream in a rolling thunder.” When she sings, “Paint dots on your wrists/ to see me in your dreams,” she calls from deep in the listener’s mind, as if, really, that’s where she’s always been.

Her descriptions of waking reality are comparatively bleak. On Shake your Shelter, humans are compared to crabs, irreversibly born “naked and sad” with a shell that “feels like a cell.” This imprisonment in existence, or the boundaries it entails, is godless. It’s imbued with this deep, searching emptiness. “We salute the sun because … We can't believe what we've become,” Marling sings on Curse of the Contemporary, still seeking “something else to pray upon.” But there is release in this lonely vulnerability, too: “I know the feeling of losing the ceiling/ Salt air is healing/ Nakedness revealing/ They go so well.”

Meanwhile, Mike Lindsay upholds the dreaminess in a vibrating haze. He weaves seamless transitions between tracks, his droning throb mesmerizing and never breaking. LUMP, then, is two kinds of in-between: he blooms between Marling’s and Lindsay’s sounds, and embodies the animal unconscious: that unreachable wildness between our dreams and conscious life. Maybe this kind of endogenous genesis is inherent to any collaboration, but there’s something filled in out about him, about what he is, how he moves. His shape. On the final track, Marling lists the album credits. As she fades out, she repeats, “LUMP is a product” over Lindsay’s most consuming sounds. Together, they nearly pulse. And maybe this is the salvation: languageless links between people, out of which full beings can be conceived. LUMP is a product. Which can be conjured with a wink, a smile, a beat.