LUMP @ The Trades Club, Hebden Bridge, 2 Jun
Laura Marling and Mike Lindsay hand an assured debut to their ambitious new project in the Calder Valley
At first glance, Hebden Bridge – and its flagship live venue, the Trades Club – doesn’t seem the most congruous place for Laura Marling to launch her new band. But LUMP, a collaboration between Marling and Mike Lindsay of veteran folk-rockers Tunng, are playing two shows here today and this first one is their debut headline gig anywhere.
They’ve played Later... with Jools Holland and an in-store in London, but this is their first appearance in front of a paying audience. Marling clearly has an affinity with this venue – she first played here in January of 2015, during a tour of intimate rooms ahead of the release of her fifth solo LP, Short Movie. She returned for a low-key benefit a year later, after the town was devastated by flooding. Tomorrow, the band will play another pair of shows in Manchester, less than 25 miles away.
LUMP have made a point of coming here, and in actual fact a town this bohemian might just be the perfect setting for a band this experimental, this strange and so thoroughly unlike anything we’ve heard before from Marling. The show is short and sweet, comprising of the full six tracks from their self-titled album in order, but with the band fleshed out to a four-piece onstage, they’re delivered in fully realised fashion. Opener Late to the Flight has Marling cooing over a fluttering bed of synths, while the ominous Rolling Thunder puts her matter-of-fact vocals front and centre, with Lindsay flitting between guitar and electronics to provide a minimalist instrumental backdrop.
Curse of the Contemporary sees Marling swapping Joni Mitchell for Kate Bush for inspiration and stormy closer Shake Your Shelter is a swirling exercise in psych, with Marling hunched over her guitar for an extended outro. LUMP have already suggested that they might not be much longer for this world, with their appearance at next month’s Latitude Festival apparently set to be their last. On this evidence, we can only hope that the peculiar, yeti-like creature they’ve posed with in their promotional photography is being sent into temporary hibernation, rather than being rendered extinct.