In a sentence:
A fascinating excavation of Tunng’s career in freak folk, electronica and indie, ‘Magpie Bites And Other Cuts’ is essential ownership for fans and a great introduction to the band.
Formed in 2003 as an initiative of Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay, Tunng
have been exploring the acoustic-electronic waters of folktronica for more than
15 years now. With six albums under their belt and a new compilation of
previously unheard tracks released last week, Tunng had enough time and
material to not only become one of the biggest “future folk” bands, but also a
group that would continue to redefine the genre.
Tunng’s 2005 debut album Mother’s
Daughter And Other Songs used British
folk as its backbone while simultaneously experimenting with electronic samples,
and the contrasting textures and colours that they brought into the acoustic
compositions. Topped with smooth, harmonious vocals and introspective lyrics,
Tunng quickly gained recognition for bringing something refreshing to folk
music. As the years went by and Tunng consistently expanded their discography,
their music developed and evolved as well. Last year’s Songs
You Make At Night saw the six-piece
turning towards electronic influences with more confidence, most effectively used
on tracks such as ‘ABOP’
or ‘Dark Heart’. At
the same time, the band didn’t give up on their folk roots and stayed very much
in touch with the acoustic, often sparse arrangements, which worked so well for
them over the span of a decade and a half.
The newest release from Tunng is a collection of unreleased
“bites and cuts” which the band recorded between 2004 and 2018. The compilation
consists of alternative takes, B-sides and rare tracks, assembled for a truly
unique experience, that no one has heard before. It brings together songs from
different creative periods of the band’s life, nonetheless, it does it in an
impressive and surprisingly cohesive way.
The opening ‘Heatwave’
was originally written in 2018 during the recording of Tunng’s latest LP – inspired
by hot and humid weather, the song is Tunng’s own take on indie-pop. Followed
by a soothing cover of Bloc Party’s ‘The Pioneers’ and the shimmering
‘Bodies’, the Magpie
Bites And Other Cuts unfolds as an interesting and enjoyable album. ‘Pool Beneath The Pond’ is yet
another pleasant track, pulling the listener in with its intriguing rhythm section
and versatile instrumentation.
The second half of the record is equally interesting – ‘Bank Holiday’ surprises with
its ever-changing mood and pleases with intricate electronic elements, combined
with calming piano and acoustic guitar sections. ‘Clump’ uses the band’s united
voices to deliver sweet harmony over a steady base-line, while ‘Band Stand’ slowly helps close
the album in a stunning instrumental arrangement.
Magpie Bites And Other Cuts is yet another satisfying
output from Tunng, and an excellent example of an enjoyable compilation of
songs, which in theory might not belong together, but in practice represent the
band’s consistency, talent and dedication to the music that brought them all
together. If that wouldn’t be enough of Tunng for somebody, the band has also
released an additional vinyl, next to songs already available via streaming or
a CD – while it may be a tiny bit too much for a casual listener, it may be
just enough for seasoned fans of the band while they wait for their next
official album. (8/10) (Alicja Rutkowska)
Listen to This Is Tunng… Magpie Bites And Other Cuts by Tunng here via Spotify, and tell us what you think below!
Tags: Full Time Hobby, Magpie Bites And Other Cuts, Mike Lindsay, review, Sam Genders, Tunng
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