LUMP | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, September 16th, 2021  

LUMP - Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay on Their Self-Titled Debut Album

A Surreal Dreamscape

Oct 17, 2018 Photography by Matthew Parri and Esteban Diacono Mike Lindsay
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LUMP‘s conception barely involved any discussion: Laura Marling and Tunng’s frontman Mike Lindsay met at a Neil Young after party, and, after what Lindsay terms a “simple exchange of words,” LUMP was formed. The collaboration induced an unexpected creative freedom. “We didn’t really know each other very well before we started doing this,” Lindsay explains, “so it was a learning curveI had no idea what it was going to be like.”

A hypnotic mix of flutes, drones, synths, and guitars, LUMP’s self-titled debut shares characteristics with a surreal short film soundtrack at just 32 minutes long (with the credits read out by Marling to close the album in “LUMP is a Product”). Lindsay describes the writing process as dictated by a set of rules: “Each track had to be roughly related to the same key musically, which meant every song could flow in and out of the others. The flute has this breathy qualityand I wanted the synths to have that same energy, where it felt alive and pulsating.”

He continues, “Laura used different voices for this record and that was wonderful because they became instruments in their own rightthey weave in and out of these organic, electronic textures.”

This textured energy stitches the record together into a layered composition of characters and voicesand Marling’s lyrics are embedded with this playful fairytale quality, as if narrating a dreamscape. Full of vivid imagery and strange vignettes, in “Late to the Flight” Marling instructs, “paint dots on your wrist to see me in your dreams”; in “Rolling Thunder” she sings, “I’m a piece of light stuck in your spine.”

While writing the lyrics for LUMP, Marling was reading André Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto, which detailed the visions of the 1920s Surrealist art movement. Their practice involved tapping into the “superior reality” of the unconscious mindsomething LUMP draws heavily on. “I like the quality of the movement and that it was trying to make art without any emotionand inevitably emotion gets attached to it,” says Marling. This surreal playfulness is reflected in the fluffy red LUMP character on the record’s cover and in the album’s music videos. “The lyrics are so unpointed,” Marling explains, “they don’t point towards a romantic situation, they don’t point towards melancholy in a explicit way, and I feel like the lyrics are innocent in that they have no agenda. We thought that LUMP [the character] would have that same combination of childishness and tactile enjoyabilityand you can’t help but project meaning onto it.”

Marling and Lindsay say that the recording process involved very little discussion-which afforded both a unique space to experiment. “Not knowing [Mike] well I wasn’t very self-conscious, and I think that created a good space,” explains Marling. The collaboration, Lindsay agrees, felt “very natural and organicthe work seemed to write itself. Laura’s words seemed to flow instantaneously. It was pretty special.”

[Note: This article originally appeared in Under the Radar’s Issue 64 (August/September/October 2018), which is out now. This is its debut online.]

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