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Amazon to start its biggest Black Friday sale yet on 16 November

Amazon's Black Friday Sale 2018 is to be its biggest yet, running from 16 November to the 25th. Here's what you need to know.
Amazon is all set for its biggest Black Friday sale yet with ten days of discounts on electronics, toys, games, fashion, beauty and home products. Black Friday deals begin 16 November and end on the 25th.

LUMP - LUMP Music Album Reviews

LUMP - LUMP Music Album Reviews
On their first collaborative album, Laura Marling and Tunng’s Mike Lindsay wrap prickly observations about lifestyle consumerism in bales of gorgeous melody and grumbling dissonance.

“LUMP is a product,” Laura Marling declares on the final track of her first collaborative LP with Mike Lindsay. LUMP is the moniker they’ve given both the project and its debut, but the album’s designation as a “product” in its closing moments carries more thematic weight than the word “LUMP” itself—a title randomly selected by Marling’s six-year-old goddaughter. The contrast between the amorphous band name and its sterile classification as a product mirrors the music throughout the record, which wraps prickly observations about lifestyle consumerism in bales of gorgeous melody and grumbling dissonance.

LUMP took root in 2016, when Marling and Lindsay first met. What might seem like an odd combination of styles—Marling’s sparse, angelic folk interfacing with the digital sound palettes Lindsay honed in Tunng—results in a remarkably fruitful collaboration. Marling’s dexterous voice leaps and languishes atop Lindsay’s Moog flutters and brooding soundscapes. Their partnership is elegantly antagonistic; sinister rattles of percussion lend grit to Marling’s seraphic voice, and her wry lyrics slice through dulcet flute phrases and oceanic synthesizer. This tension has a beguiling effect, as the duo’s alluring art-pop melodies momentarily disguise Marling’s poetic critiques of contemporary life.

“Hand Hold Hero” is LUMP’s most intriguing convergence of aesthetics. Marling delivers steely talking blues over synth arpeggios in the style of Giorgio Moroder. Her voice is so languid and so noirish in its huskiness, it’s as though she’s exhaling cigarette smoke that curls into words mid-air. As Lindsay deploys compact blasts of static, she mocks the banal trappings of a comfortable existence: “Money didn’t buy you nothing at all,” Marling groans. “Accept a ball for your chain.”

“Shake Your Shelter” intensifies the claustrophobia of this domestic cage but leaves more space for empathy. A gauzy fringe of chimes and wooden creaks encircles lyrics that imagine being “born a crab/Naked and sad.” Marling’s introspection quickly extends to the outside world, as she surveys a landscape of vacant homes: “I know the feeling/Of losing the ceiling/On a beach full of empty shells.” This is one of the album’s most poignant images, illustrating a universal sense of isolation–of being alone together. In the distance, bells echo, percussion rattles, and a choir of voices sweeps across the track like wind on the surf. It’s a desolate sound but a familiar one.

LUMP’s conceptual and musical centerpiece is lead single “Curse of the Contemporary,” an avant-pop offering that skewers faux-enlightenment, sung in Marling's skyward, Kate Bush-style soprano. The album’s most melodic offering, it also bares the sharpest teeth. Atop Lindsay’s bright slashes of guitar, Marling sneers, “If you should be bored in California/I’m sure I’m not the first to warn ya/Don’t read in too much to all the signs and turns/Keep your wits about you.” It is a smiling reprimand, sung in Marling’s most saintly register.

The song begins with the same rumbling drone that permeates the record, fusing tracks together like connective tissue. Beneath LUMP’s sweetness, this foreboding buzz growls ceaselessly, like the ambient hum of fluorescent lights in an office building. In the chorus, Marling translates that murmur into language, questioning the Western desire to leverage spirituality as a commodity but offering no alternatives. “We salute the sun because/When the day is done/We can’t believe what we’ve become,” she sings. “Something else to prey upon.”

“Curse” sharpens LUMP’s critique of commodified individualism to a sparkling point. But on the album’s last track, Marling addresses the commodity of her and Lindsay's own making. Over a patina of flute and atmospheric chatter, she lists off the album credits with the cool detachment of Siri. “Moog recorded at Meme Studios by Ben Edwards, also known as ‘Benge,’” Marling intones. If LUMP is a commentary on the commodification of art and the self, then its final minutes suggest the duality of music as a commodity. On one hand, LUMP turn their critical lens inward, suggesting that their work is also complicit in the mass marketing of culture. But Marling’s verbal recognition of the record's instruments and players returns the work to the human hands that made it. “LUMP is a product,” she repeats.

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