Captivating use of instrumentals
Lung’s third album, Come Clean Right Now, aims to create a mystifying medley of atmospheric vocals and hard rock. Even veering at points to metal, Lung’s work derives from the early 2010s, taking those influences and making it their own. The album’s title even acts as a declaration, paving the way for the experience of listening to it. To great credit, it acts as more of a conceptual album than many albums currently. Its cohesiveness is admirable while maintaining interest in its listeners.
One of the most distinctive hallmarks of Lung is the vocal performance of Kate Wakefield. The vibrato in the titular track “Come Clean Right Now” reminds one of the likes of Florence and the Machine or Kate Bush, using a more airy vocal performance to counteract the very complex electric cello running through it. Repetitive phrases such as “you’re mine” are distinctively unsettling, deeper than the rest of the song. It very firmly introduces the album in broad strokes, giving a captivating performance.
It truly is remarkable just how Wakefield plays the electric cello throughout the album, acting almost indistinguishable from a distorted bassline. In “I’m Nervous,” the instrumentals are heavy, pulsating and magnetic. There is a tension that is created between the dissonant chords and the drumline that creates such a quintessential rock sound. The cello creates such balance within the works that it is not seen as an instrument taken outside of its genre. Instead, it lives inside of it.
Perhaps none of the songs truly highlight both elements as beautifully as “Air,” which has incredibly quick chord progressions to mimic the idea of floating on air. This is one of the areas in which the cello clearly aids in amplifying the voice. With many string instruments pairing well with Wakefield’s tone, it is a wonderful moment to see it culminate in a track that not only shows just how intensely she can play her instruments but how well she can make it her own.
That is not to only give credit to Wakefield in the duo that is the band, Lung. Daisy Caplan lets his drum work soar throughout the record as well, such as in the song “Landlocked,” one of the heavier records on the album. Largely with his poise to match and even exceed the other instrumentals he is backing, there is poise to the drum work that makes every note seem intentional. It is in this that many of the songs have the layered complexity that it has. Even with the more vocal-heavy songs, each member clearly shows skill in their craft.
It is in the song “Wave,” featuring Paige Beller, that sounds the most classically trained, representative of the vocalist’s background. The cello is not distorted in the way of the other songs, instead of creating an extended sequence to create a melody in which underlies the vocal performances. Molding the cello to a heavier chorus, like the rest of the album, truly shows how much of a shapeshifter the instrument is. It is through sheer control in which the song shines.
Similarly, the last track, “Arrow,” utilizes more organic cello work before exploding into dense drum work. Having some of the most successful songwriting on the album, it truly leaves the album on the highest of notes. Maintaining the energy placed in the first song, it is clear that Lung has plenty of talent to highlight. If there is an album that truly shows what pure hard rock is currently, Come Clean Right Now is a showcase of the best elements in recent years.