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LUMP is an odd name for deft electro-folk. Laura Marling’s silky voice and Mike Lindsay’s sleek production sound much smoother than their project name suggests. Marling, a star on the British music scene since her teens, rose to popularity amongst other nu-folk acts like Mumford and Sons and Noah and the Whale. Lindsay, founder of acid folk group Tunng, is a Mercury Prize-winning composer and producer.
In the press release accompanying the self-titled album, LUMP credits the 19th century absurdist poets Edward Lear and Ivor Cutler as inspiration. Each track comes with a video of a Muppet Show-style creature (dubbed “the yeti”) made of hair, sauntering back and forth across an unmoving screen, dancing to each song with abandon. It’s the creation of motion graphics designer Esteban Diaconos, one of the several members of the LUMP collaborative effort.
The ideas inspiring LUMP are big, but the album is pretty small, only seven tracks in total. LUMP’s first single “Curse of the Contemporary” is familiar vocal territory for Marling and her Joni Mitchell staccato. “Hand Hold Hero” and “Shake Your Shelter” introduce original instrumentation, more elaborate than usually associated with Marling’s typically sparse arrangements. Similarly, the plucky synth on “May I Be the Light” introduces an electronic element that is new to Marling, but sounds right at home.
Further cementing the group project nature of LUMP, the last track on the album “LUMP Is a Product” is a spoken word roll call of each person who had a hand in the work. The effort feels truly democratic, yet unified in its mission. It’s a fun project that you’re glad they made, a psychedelic world that’s accessible and intriguing.
LUMP is dream-like. The listener slips into the album quickly, becoming engrossed in Marling and Lindsay’s surreal landscape. It’s over almost as soon as it’s begun, shimmering in the background with catchy hooks that follow you throughout the day. LUMP is unburdened by all of the themes it’s built on and easy to enjoy as a pure expression of musical creativity.
Notable Tracks: “Curse of the Contemporary” | “May I Be the Light” | “Shake Your Shelter”