The first thing you notice with the debut album from Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay, aka Tuung, is the amazing cover art which makes you long for the days of the whacking great vinyl LP. It is one of the most intricate pieces of artwork seen since the days when Yes fans eagerly awaited Roger Dean’s latest creations almost as much as the albums in which they were housed. Trust me, you will find yourself spinning the CD cover around and finding something new all the time – and who said the days of great album artwork were over?
If ever a cover told you something about an album’s music it was this one too. As just as there is so much to see there, on the CD there is so much to hear. This is a folk album that is never dull and lends its sound to influences from a curious mix of Beta Band and Four Tet to Nick Drake and Pentangle.
Don’t let the word folk put you off, or the fact that one half of the Tuung duo started out writing soft porn soundtracks for The Fantasy Channel. Things changed the day producer Mike Lindsay was introduced to the soundtrack to cult horror classic, The Wicker Man, the influences of which can clearly be heard on this album.
Mother’s Daughter And Other Songs is the first long player from Tuung, following two well-received limited edition 7′ singles last summer, the most recent of which was actually a cover of Maypole Song from The Wicker Man. To describe their sound simply would be impossible, but it is a sound which that word folktronica seems to have been defined for.
First song Mother’s Daughter would very much be something you might hear on Mike Harding’s Radio 2 folk programme if it wasn’t for the experimental beats and electronic beeps that permeate through its folky beard. People Folk, on the other hand, is very much more on the tronica half of things than the folk. This track is the closest the duo come to sounding like The Beta Band on the album – employing the same very deliberate, almost spoken, vocals as their Anglo-Scottish contemporaries.
Samples from film and television, as well as all kinds of other weird sounds like door bells and crowd laughter, are intermingled alongside some beautiful acoustic guitar throughout the ten tracks. The result is that the songs are ever-changing and remain interesting, despite basically being folk tunes if everything else was stripped away.
Yet strip everything away and you would still be left with some very good songs. Highlights being Tale From Black, with hints of Stephen Duffy’s The Lilac Time, and Surprise Me 44, which rounds off the album.The dark lyrics throughout also do much to retain your attention, as “thou art not Satin’s girl” in a little ditty called Fair Doreen would prove – the only disappointment is that it runs at under 40 minutes in length.
In summary, Tuung have produced a strong debut which sits up there with the best that the fledgling folktronica genre has produced to this date.