Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay played ‘LUMP’ live last night. In full. Twice.

LUMP are currently in the middle of a four-show-two-day run. RIGHT NOW!

Forget Laura Marling, forget Mike Lindsay (Tunng/ Throws). Visually, all we really know of their enigmatic side-project LUMP is a big furry yeti that could seek meaningful employment at a car wash… this is LUMP. It looks somewhat subdued and loveable on the album cover; it falls in love with a mop in the video for ‘Late to the Flight’; it re-choreographs Ryan Gosling’s La La Land tip-tapping and Hollywood idealism in ‘Curse of the Contemporary’ (and what’s more it would look great on the billboards).

Underneath all of this sits the critically-acclaimed self-titled debut that was released at the start of this month, lyrically a self-professed ode to absurdism and the poetry of Ivor Cutler while musically sitting somewhere in the psychedelic crux of Jefferson Airplane’s wonkier moments and Iron Butterfly’s ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida’. It both successfully refreshes the discourse on Marling (for those unable to mention her without an affliction of Joni Mitchell tourettes), and brings Lindsay’s leftfield creative production to life from the cavernous refines of folktronica reclusiveness.

Instead of playing a venue with a capacity befitting their shared status, though, the duo play two shows a night for two nights at Hackney’s Oslo. The small and sweaty room emphasises the stony stoicism of Marling comically playing against the joyousness of Lindsay, who darts between looping guitar drones and electronic pads, as they play the album in order, in full.

The pair may only have half an hour of recorded music together, but musical introductions are elongated, woozy instrumentals become woozier, Marling’s vocals in ‘May I Be The Light’ naturally rocket through an extra couple of choruses. ‘Rolling Thunder’ is deconstructed into a psych-orientated highlight until the haze seeps in on the performers and all you can see is Lindsay’s ever more exaggerated head, bobbing and twisting away, building into the already familiar intro to electric ‘Curse of the Contemporary’.

The show is mesmerising: without a “hello” or a “goodbye”, an introduction or a closing “thanks”, Marling and Lindsay remove themselves as focal points and we’re left, once again, only with the concept of LUMP. The evening’s ‘in and out’ format and rigid punctuality feels like you’ve entered a museum, hopeful for a glimpse of this fluffy yeti called LUMP. But where you might have previously expected to find it wrestling a polar bear on-stage at a British Sea Power gig, you’re now having to come to terms with it being a musical spin-off from one of Berkshire’s most successful folk exports. Times change, and we’re going with it.

LUMP at Oslo, Hackney, 5 June 2018

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