Since 2007’s Good Arrows album, Tunng have parted company with Sam Genders, their singer and co-founding member. So now, with a tweaked personnel line-up and a refreshed sound to boot, these best known of folktronica exponents make a valiant return for And Then We Saw Land, an album that finds them sounding more at ease than perhaps ever before with their dialogue between classic Brit-folk artistry and modern, synth-wrangling electronics.
If this balancing act sounds more at ease than ever before, it’s not the only thing; far more than on prior efforts you get the sense of a full, democratic band behind all this, something underlined by the distribution of vocals over the course of the album, which on this occasion tends to take on a communal feel, with Becky Jacobs (who’s none other than the sister of Max Tundra, rock trivia fans) in particular stepping forwards and sharing most of the lead voice work on the album. Songs like ‘Sashimi’ and ‘Santiago’ – with its ace clockwork beats – stand out as exemplary uptempo, electronically enhanced numbers, but any notions of the squawking digital and analogue elements being tokenistic or thrown in for good measure go clean out of the window on this album: the likes of ‘It Breaks’ and the epic ‘Weekend Away’ underline that this is very much a proper, modern folk band boasting a gig-hardened ensemble sound.
The aesthetics of this record seem to underline a trend that finds the gap between modern folk and post-rock narrowing. Subtract a string section or two and you’d barely notice any territorial differences between what Tunng are up to these days and the sort of polyphonic songsmithery the likes of Efterklang pursue. This level of togetherness and collaboration clearly serves the group well and their new long-player sounds like a genuine step forwards, breaking free from those old folktronica tags.
Don’t Look Down Or Back
[audio:http://www.mediafilesccc.com/DontLookDownOrBack.mp3|titles=Don’t Look Down Or Back|artists=Tunng]
Fri 16th – Printemps de Bourges, Bourges, France
Sat 17th – Exit Festival, Luxembourg
Mon 19th – Karlstorbahnhof, Heidelberg, Germany
Tue 20th – Melkweg, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Wed 21st – Botanique, Brussels, Belgium
Thu 22nd – Gebaeude9, Koln, Germany
Fri 23rd – Festaal, Berlin, Germany
Sun 25th – Little Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark
Mon 26th – Knust, Hamburg, Germany
Wed 28th – Stall 6, Zurich, Switzerland
Thu 29th – La Vapeur, Dijon, France
Fri 30th – La Maroquinerie, Paris, France
Sat 22nd – Wood Festival, nr Oxford, UK
Sat 17th – Larmer Tree Festival, Salisbury, UK