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Review | “The power of performance” Lankum – False Lankum

The Last Mixed Tape reviews Fake Lankum, the new studio album by Lankum

Photo credit: Ellius Grace

The power of performance rests at the heart of False Lankum. Throughout an album built upon the nuance of how a note, beat, or harmony emerges, Lankum weaves its wild and rugged music around a world of its own making. 

Opening with the sprawling foreboding of ‘Go Dig My Grave’, False Lankum’s unforgiving soundscape is set. Strings scream in elongated passages as drums pound in response beneath a haunting vocal that portrays sorrow in every word. The staging of each element that comprises the song is precise and intricate. Indeed, this mood-driven undercurrent flows deftly into the icy ‘Clear Away in the Morning’, adding to the thematic thread that holds False Lankum together. 

There’s a contortion to False Lankum. The storytelling is put through a prism of distant voices, both musical and lyrical, adding a dreamlike quality. The spartan ‘Newcastle’ places a mournful vocal within a dynamic of beautiful yet brooding harmonies paired with angular picked guitar. While the stomping ‘The New York Trader’ contrasts the trad buoyancy with an undercurrent of textures that engulf the song itself, while the record grounds itself in the world Lankum crafted (further established in the atmospheric interludes of Fugue I to III). 

False Lankum’s scope and scale can be best encapsulated by ‘The Turn’. Closing the album with an epic thirteen minutes of tidal dynamics, melded instrumentation and far-off vocals, the song has an almost hypnotic feel. Capturing the performative edge of the record, ‘The Turn’ comes alive via subtle nuances in how each part comes together, espcially how Lankum interprut them musically. 

And so it goes, False Lankum is where performance meets meaning. By taking abstracted folk foundations and adding themselves into the mix, Lankum breathes life into every moment. False Lankum therefore feels natural, tempered in emotion, and most importantly vital. In False Lankum, Lankum has graduated to masters of their craft, as they sculpt foreboding beauty out of wild, untamed sounds.   


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