Tunng
Comments of the Inner Chorus
2006
B+



it sounds like a pagan word, recited in some forgotten Wicca rite. And like their name, Tuung’s music suitably evokes bucolic scenes with hazy alchemical magic gilding the darkened peripheries of the woods.

Listening to Comments of the Inner Chorus, you’d think that guitarists Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders must have been raised on a steady diet of superstition, fine ale, psilocybin, and the stranger folk of the late 60s and 70s. But that isn’t the full story: Tuung aren’t as rooted in the retro as they may first appear. Peer closer and a singular world of clicks, pulses, spoken word samples, and even 4/4 house beats can be discerned within the trees. Along with a extended band of musicians playing all manner of weird percussive devices, strings, and horns, the guitarists weave beautiful, and sometimes darkly bittersweet acoustic passages into tales of changelings, murdered lovers, and other suitably witchy doings.

Lord Summerisle would be proud if the whole thing wasn’t suffused with such a strong desire to engage with electronics and found-sound bric-a-brac. But rest assured: just like their first album, Mother’s Daughter, Tuung easily transcend the unfortunate and loathed term folktronica. If the opener “Hanged” taps into the chattering, scraping, lush organic noise that Four Tet used to specialise in, then “Sweet William” paints their typically Pagan imagery with understated vocals, deep hollows of cello, and ominous electronic discourse pinging back and forth across the void, sounding like some Black Shuck beyond your vision, invisible yet terrifying.

“Woodcat” is a delicate and typically twisted tale of one man’s love for a hare. She’s been transformed from the girl she used to be, sentenced to this punishment by the village folk for some transgression. With its joyous, rousing chorus, the band exclaim that they too want to be transformed into a hare, to be with their sweetheart. If it sounds a little over the top, you’re soon brought back down to Earth by lines like: “I miss having coffee in bed with you, watching TV.” It’s a fantastical and mysterious England that the group evokes from their electronic pentagram, but it’s also an intensely relatable one.

Perhaps the finest moment here is “Engine Room,” with its ominous circular acoustic swirl, locomotive rhythm, and gradually building percussion. Eminently psychedelic, the track seems to suggest a train’s inexorable chug, but this engine room is considerably darker—some kind of infernal engine where “tickets are £6” but you can’t get off. Towards the end a massive distorted house 4/4 kicks in, before shortly depositing us into a gorgeous pool of electro synths.

An album of imaginative intensity, vivid imagery, and best of all, heart-tugging emotion: fall under its spell.


Reviewed by: Ben Murphy
Reviewed on: 2006-05-18
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