LUMP: Animal (Partisan/Chrysalis) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, November 30th, 2023  




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On a scale from one to extra lumpy, Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay’s latest collaboration as LUMP pushes the outer boundaries. In fact, looking back on their 2018 self-titled debut, the earlier album feels only to be testing the waters of where they could go. LUMP was melancholic and beautiful, distancing itself from Marling’s solo work with pages from Linsday’s folktronic coloring book. But the album’s most energetic moments were brought as much by Marling’s vocal dynamics as Lindsay’s burbling machines.

Flash forward three years, and Animal comes off as more of a “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet” showpiece of Lindsay more earnestly squaring off against Marling’s can’t be broken vocal range. The opening five tracks are as fine a start to an album as any you will find this year and touch on all of duo’s hybrid vigorousness. “Animal” being the pinnacle of these with Lindsay lithely rooting around in all corners of song. Ripe with dance beats, sheep bleats, and an extended pregnant pause that only ups the anticipation of the track’s second half, Marling gamely goes with the flow, singing of humanity’s basest features: blood, hair, and dirt amongst other primal things. The more lilting arrangement of “Climb Every Wall” balances well with Marling’s most exasperated vocal matching the desperation of title.

Other early album highlights include the simmering opener, “Bloom At Night,” and the oozing atmospherics of “Red Snakes,” that on an album inspired by Marling’s explorations in psychoanalysis, shows her at her most sympathetic. And while “Gamma Ray” and “Phantom Limb” have titles in common with songs by indie rock titans, it’s the verses of the energetic “We Cannot Resist” than run alongside Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” for a little too long. The song still makes for the most invigorating take on the album’s latter half, though the closing meander of “Phantom Limb” is utterly captivating. And that’s setting aside Marling’s ASMR-inspired reading of the album credits à la their first foray as LUMP. If a nod to honing hypnotherapy skills, Marling could certainly make a go of it.

Even though Animal has some second-half fits and starts, the album’s opening salvo and last half highlights place the album squarely in the running for year-end best of lists. While Marling’s lyrics here may have been inspired by the intelligentsia of their day, she uses the concepts as sparring partners to go up against Lindsay’s own bobs and weaves in a captivating dynamic. Animal brings to bear the promise of the duo’s earliest work and the certainty that any word of future editions will elicit an appropriately Pavlovian response. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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