LUMP – Animal
It’s now more than a decade since Laura Marling won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Solo Artist, and since releasing her 2007 debut Alas, I Cannot Swim as a teenager she’s racked up four Mercury Music Prize nominations.
Few singer-songwriters have been as consistently excellent in that time, but there’s always been more to Marling than a talent for folky song writing and an ethereal voice, as evidenced by collaborations with the likes of Mystery Jets and most recently Ed O’Brien.
Her most enduring collaborative project, however, has been LUMP – a team-up with Tunng’s Mike Lindsay that resulted in a 2018 debut and now the follow-up, Animal.
There’s something thrilling about the two vocalists letting themselves loose on music rather than sticking solely with the usual folk fare heard in dreamy opener Bloom at Night and the brooding second track Gamma. It’s on the album’s title track that the duo really kick into gear and show the possibilities of their brand of electronic pop, marrying a catchy chorus and hook with digressions into the more esoteric.
Things slow down again with the organ-infused Red Snakes, before the more passionate and rocky Paradise takes things back up a notch – although even this has its experimental, off-kilter moments, especially in its haunting closing stages.
In many ways, it’s the tender attractiveness of Marling’s voice that makes Animal a special record, but it’s by no means the only thing to like about the collection. Rather, the artist’s vocals wins her and Lindsay the right to go off in strange directions, like on the oriental instrumental Hair on the Pillow, without becoming a little too outré and losing listeners who may have enjoyed her solo efforts.
It’s an approach that really comes to fruition on Animal’s last three songs. Firstly, there’s We Cannot Resist, an upbeat poppy number whose bouncy bassline recalls the singer’s hit with Mystery Jets, Young Love, and is arguably the album’s standout song.
That’s followed by a return to more introspection on the piano ballad Oberon, and the floaty, jazzy parting shot Phantom Limb, which lasts six minutes but never tests the listener’s patience. It’s a fitting finish to a record that experiments but at the same time respects fans with some genuinely exciting indie pop.
Animal is released on 30th July 2021. For further information or to order the album visit LUMP’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Animal here: