Get the f**k out of here! (aka the Fuck Lungs album review)

Fuck Lungs – Honeysuckle (Already Dead Tapes & Records)

Fuck Lungs’ first tape came out in 2016, but both its members have kept quite busy before and since. Drummer Joe Hess continues to play in Complainer – who released one of my favorite tapes last year – as well as in numerous improvised ensembles, and Curt Oren has toured relentlessly and recently joined venerated freaks Wei Zhongle on alto sax.

All this activity aside, 2018 also sees the release of Fuck Lungs’ second tape, Honeysuckle. Clocking in around 27 minutes, it’s a brief and somewhat different affair from their debut. Hess states, “this one is a bit shorter and has a very different vibe, a little more editing in post.” While maybe not immediately identifiable, this attention to post-production allows for their instrumental improvisations to take on more songlike structures.

Opener “Climbing Up the Drain” begins with electronic waves, introducing textures that continue throughout the album, as both musicians augment their instruments with layers of electronic effects. As this pattern loops, layers of horn slowly enter, until Hess bursts onto the scene with vicious aplomb.

Exploring opposite ends of the dynamic spectrum, “Honeysucker” gets down and dirty, touching on that free improv loft vibe duo exchange I dig so hard, whereas “Now Is Not the Time” blows sweet with flute echoes and soft percussion breezily flowing. This diversity in approach and execution keeps things fresh and exciting from track to track.

“Fresher Breath” breathes, trading in soft flute flutters and skittering percussion, then explodes into baritone sax blasts on “Lunar Tunes”. This track heavily features some of the aforementioned post-editing, both horn and drums shifting pitch and splicing in and out of space.

“An Errant Hair” is largely a showcase for Hess’ busy yet subtle percussion. Eventually Oren crescendos to some skronky overblowing before the piece winds back down. Closer “You Live Alone” stretches out, clocking in at over six minutes, and serves as a fine encapsulation of the varied styles within the album.

If you dig free music, or are dipping your toes into weirder waters, Honeysuckle is gonna be your jam. Available now on cassette and digital album via Already Dead Tapes & Records.

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