“On Being Lumpy (2016 Edition)”
(Lily Tapes and Discs)

Gorgeous bedroom acoustic folk music, à la the lo-fi Midwestern indie scene in the late 1990s early 2000s. Originally released in 2011 on CDR, ON BEING LUMPY is the product of Ben Lovell, the man behind Lung Cycles, who decided that enough time had passed that he could revisit these songs without being horrified by them in some way (he says he was “frustrated and anxious” at the time of their recording, and if I were Ben, I may have just let the tapes collect dust in a shoebox under my bed – or, uh, in an unused folder on my desktop?). The songs live on their own, depict a specific time in one’s life, and speak to the fear inherent in the unknown. I get it – I went through that kind of period before, and Ben speaks to the me of that time, likely how ON BEING LUMPY acts as a snapshot of his own life. The music is split between instrumentals and vocal pieces, and regardless of which is doing the heavy lifting, there’s still an element that can be easily latched on to, an emotional point of reference that keeps the tape moored to an actual real world. It makes me wonder – how would I respond to a time capsule from the me of 2011 here in 2017? Would I understand where I was coming from? Would I be able to relate? I don’t know. Listening to this makes me sort of want to dig deeper into my own musical past, pull out some of the tracks I recorded with … oh god no – oh, I really WAS a Primus fan at one point! Time to take these tapes to the incinerator – sorry Ben, you and I may connect on some of the emotional checkpoints here, but I’m way too embarrassed to release any of this junk. Good on you for plugging along a listenable path in the first place!

Lung Cycles
Lily Tapes and Discs

--Ryan Masteller