Lung are a powerhouse art-punk, cello-rock duo, based out of Cincinnati, Ohio comprising Kate Wakefield, a classically trained opera singer and cellist, and drummer Daisy Caplan, formerly of Foxy Shazam, Babe Rage, and Ayin. Their third full-length album “Come Clean Right Now” is due out this month. The album was written during the early parts of the pandemic and the pair had to collaborate their ideas via email, a completely new concept as they usually write primarily on the road or between tours. “The record is indirectly or perhaps directly influenced by books I was reading,” says Wakefield. “I read poetry daily over the past year. I love the poets Joy Harjo and Ellen Bass. I’m also into Buddhist and consciousness literature and was able to really dive into a lot of beautiful books that helped to keep me sane. There was an interesting divide between what I was reading and how I was feeling. It all just comes back to trying to practice what you preach, failing, and trying again, and the record reflects that. There is a lot of brutal honesty in this album: anger, sadness, the highs and insecurities of new love, and the realization that although we think we can control our lives, ultimately that is an illusion.”
The album opens with title track `Come Clean Right Now` which has a repetitive cello riff and vocals that lead you gently along and has that sense of the quiet before the storm. The song flows with cello, an uneven drum rhythm and vocals floating in, around and atop. A compelling introduction. There are repetitive drumbeats and a grinding cello riff on the edgy `Sorry`. A track that quite races along.
`I’m Nervous` is almost effortless in presentation but so captivating with drums and cello leading us along this journey with vocals that seem like they`ve been double tracked. An unnerving slow burn. There`s much more of a speed metal vibe to `Sugar Pill` which does enjoy brief lulls before returning to more of the same.
I really loved `Air` which sprints along quietly at first then bursts into life with a more encompassing sound that ensures that this piece becomes wonderfully mesmerising. A warning siren alerts us to the joy of `Tick Tock` which is a quite hypnotic slab of doom metal.
`Landlocked` builds from crashing drums to a more speed metal offering that races along with driving cello slashes and pounding drums. The singer has relayed that `Sun God` “is about how sometimes when we are most weighed down with the world, we are hit with moments of monumental beauty and how the beautiful and the painful are all happening at once.” It`s a curious mix, a sort of track that feels like it`s balancing on a fine line of a potential eruption.
`Green` begins quite operatically, chorally before developing into a grinding looping melee of delightfully controlled noise with some questioning lyrical content rapidly shared. Ohio based multi-instrumental singer-songwriter Paige Beller takes over vocal duties on `Wave`. A quite ethereal submission with cello that is almost classical at times but then has it`s full on hard rock riffs. It was charmingly delicate at times.
`Morning` is a churning, grinding slab of unsettling grungy rock but does seem to encompass some symphonic elements at times. The album closes with `Arrow` which is elegantly haunting and has some charming cello chords and is deliciously melodic.
How the hell can you best describe Lung? Art punk with grunge and doom elements? This duo have a sound that shifts from a dark and powerful place with some really heavy rock aspects but then veers to a much more subtle graceful melodic texture. It`s a surprise to realise that two people could create such turmoil with just cello, drums and vocals.
`Come Clean Right Now` runs at just under thirty minutes so I’d encourage you to allocate a small window in your life to give this a blast, it`ll be time well spent.