Two albums in, it’s still a puzzle as to whether LUMP’s existence is about dichotomy, duality or a mind-twisting combination of the two. It’s not unfathomable that Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay’s creative worlds are constantly colliding but, conversely, LUMP are arguably at their most interesting when they sound worlds apart.
Following their eponymous 2018 debut, Animal continues the “half cute, half dark and creepy” dynamic the duo set out to create. Title track ‘Animal’ is sombre and withdrawn, ‘Climb Every Wall’ and ‘We Cannot Resist’ drift into the woozy melodic weirdness of English Riviera-era Metronomy, and ‘Paradise’ gives Animal some of its few peaks and troughs as Lindsay moves through the kinds of stretched melodies and time signatures that make his band Tunng’s folktronica so curiously listenable.
As ‘Bloom at Night’ floats along some mysterious, dreamy instrumentation, the overriding mood across the album is one of a functioning coexistence, but also an intentional sense of distance. And while it gives Animal a reserved fascination, it also feels a little impassive – a kind of Margate Twin Peaks.
And so we come full circle. Perhaps the only reason LUMP work so well is because of their push-pull process: a creative speed date less concerned with maintaining a spark, and more about capturing a little bit of magic.
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