New Tunng – “Don’t Look Down Or Back” (Stereogum Premiere)

Electronically oriented folk experimentalists Tunng return with their fifth LP …And Then We Saw Land. After a year of recording and a ten-day tour joining songs and sounds with the excellent Malian collective Tinariwen, the band offers this album as a sort or tribute to their recent “travel and experimentation.” You won’t hear much Touraeg gypsy desert blues in the first track from the record, but there is a shared, salt-of-the-earth spirit at play. The OC set (remember when that was a thing?) likely got their introduction when their excellent cover of Bloc Party’s “The Pioneers” popped up on that show; we last saw them rolling everyday junk into an extraterrestrial scrapball in the video for “Bullets,” fitting imagery for a sound tending to blend earthen folk with future-forward digital bits. As such “Folktronica” is the portmanteau of choice when playing the label game, and at their base, there are folk and electronic elements at play in Tunng’s tonal palette. You hear some of that in the lead listen from the new record, “Don’t Look Down Or Back,” but only in the slightest sense — sweeping in the intro, squiggling on the way out. But mostly this is a male/female harmonied finger-picker, plying horns and swells of vocals into crashing but stately hook. And it’s lovely:

Tunng – “Don’t Look Down Or Back” (MP3)

…And Then We Saw Land is due early April via Thrill Jockey.

Tags: Tunng