Sam Genders and Mike Lindsay became the founding fathers of “folktronica” in the 00s with a slew of innovative albums with Tunng. The pair have travelled separate paths over the past decade: Genders forming the band Diagrams, Lindsay moving to Reykjavik, then on to this year’s collaboration with singer Laura Marling as Lump. Here, they reconvene Tunng’s original line-up for an album that builds seamlessly on its predecessors’ strengths; dreamy moods, pastoral landscapes undercut with dark currents, and conjurations of acoustic and electronic instrumentation. It’s lighter on the sampled clicks, whirrs and speech of their early work, and heavier on the beats; Dark Heart has a Kraftwerk-like coda, and there are burbles of Fender Rhodes piano throughout.
The appeal, however, is much the same; Genders’s delicate falsetto (in the manner of Robert Wyatt) is full of lyrical surprises – “fragments of a better life” that rain from the sky, visions of “an army of abandoned souls” – and comes counterpointed by Becky Jacobs’s haunting vocals. The melodies are simple but lovely, often spelled out on tumbling acoustic guitar, as on Like Water, before being taken up by the group. It’s wonderful to have them back.