Tuung – Songs You Make at Night

I offer a belated welcome to November my dear Brothers and a further welcome to ‘Songs You Make at Night’ by Tuung.

I know Brother David has a soft spot for a bit of Tuung, I don’t think Guy is familiar and I am not sure of Nolan’s history with the band but it was his post of ABOP on this blog that alerted me to the fact that this new album existed. I knew it was coming as they released Flatland earlier in the year and my wife and son loved it.  I was looking forward to it as I do with all Tuung albums but I will be totally honest, they usually fit into the ‘nice to listen to’ rather than ‘have to / love to listen to’. They are ‘nice’ albums, they go well with a Sunday roast with company that you’re unsure of (musically speaking). Almost nobody would actively dislike it. However, I think this album takes them across that ‘nice to listen to’ threshold into something else. I think this is my favourite Tuung album (heart) and I think it may be their best (head) too.

So what do you get? Folktronica. A term that makes my skin crawl so best to get it out the way early. Over successive albums they have become slowly more ‘tronica’ but only in their instrumentation. The tunes are still folksy but in an unmistakably Tuung way. There aren’t many (any?) bands that sound like Tuung. I have found a couple but they turned out to be Tuung side projects.

I find this album enchanting. Its a slice of calm and prettiness that I always find welcoming. It’s got all the lyrical quirkiness that I love (‘Crow’ is a lovely example). It’s got the bleeps and squelches accompanying the acoustic guitars and occasional woodwind that still sit so comfortably together. It’s more upbeat moments like Dark Heart that manage to feel part of the whole and not jarring.

The thing that made me choose this is that it is 11 strong tracks. The stand out tracks change each time you listen to it. I would like to think that this make it accessible  and enjoyable for all.  It won’t end up on may best of lists as i don’t think its breaking new ground but for me, its one of the albums that will come with me into 2019 and beyond.

5 comments

  1. nolankane706

    Knowing that this was scheduled to be the album of the month I have been getting stuck into this for the last few weeks. Much like brother Joseph they have appeared on a couple playlists that usually get played when people are around for Sunday lunch or when I’m working and want some background music. I have in the past tried to get into Tuung a bit more but album wise I’ve always found them a bit drab.

    This album is a turning point for me; I love it. I’d take it as far to say it may be one of my favourite albums of the year. The album flows nicely and on first listen is unexpected. Musically there is a whimsical flow to the album which I really enjoy. It needs to be said that the lyrics at times are a bit random but it’s easily forgotten.

    This album is getting allot of play at the moment at our house. Good choice brother Joseph!

  2. David Allison

    This is a lovely album. I’ve had it on repeat for a good while, and it’s really wormed its way into my consciousness. I have to admit that, after a few listens, I began to wonder if it was a bit samey and lacking standout tracks. But then a train journey to London with 2 listens to the album on good headphones made me realise that was absolute nonsense – as is often the case with intimate sounding, sonically complex music, it opened up so much when I was able to sit and listen to it properly.

    Dream In feels like a throwback as an opener, nice enough but very like the band’s old work. It’s the 2nd song, the single Abop, that really announces the band have taken a step forward. A lovely chugging synth line and that wonky melody and those rather odd lyrics are a real winner. Ditto tracks like Sleepwalking, which use synths at the forefront. The only obvious synth-led track I struggle with is Dark Heart, which sounds like it was written ready to be a single, but somehow leaves me quite cold.

    There are other songs that feel like that classic folkatronica (yes, I know, URGH) sound of the early albums – Flatlands and Crow are gorgeous, that male/female vocal back and forth on Battlefront (incidentally – there is nothing like enough of Becky Jacobs’ voice on this album IMHO). That dreamlike quality is present throughout, but unlike some of their work, it feels like a really cohesive work, a product of a group of people really applying their talents to a collective vision. It’s rarely meandering and there are very few missteps.

    Whether it stays at the front of my playlist, only time will tell, but I’m certain it will be an album I’ll reach for when I’m in a certain mood – and when I say ‘certain mood’, I mean, glass of wine, sat on sofa, wanting some peace!

    Finally, the album did lead me to reacquainting myself with the band’s back catalogue, which is always a good sign. They really have made some great tunes over the years. And what a good addition to that catalogue this is.

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