Stumpwork by Dry Cleaning [7/10]

London band Dry Cleaning carries the label of “post-punk,” but that barely hints at the radical nature of its music. “Stumpwork” is the band’s second release in two years, and is fully aligned with their debut. Essentially, evocative poet Florence Shaw voices poems over a canvas of a three-piece band headed by Frisch-style, sonic guitarist Tom Dowse. The laconic voice is upfront in the mix but the background, slow musical accompaniment is as much a part of the listening experience. The feel is lazy and lush. Gently hypnotic. Shaw’s lyrics are journal outpourings, impressionistic and of-the-moment. For some reason, perhaps because I remember various bands with a similar timbre, I enjoy Stumpwork as both background while working and immediacy on a gym bike. Check out the bouncy “Kwenchy Kups,” with its lyrics about otters and much more; the escaped tortoise astride a racing tune in “Gary Ashby”; or the raspy, slow guitar of “Driver’s Story.”

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