Lung– Let It Be Gone
For those familiar with Lung, there had been 414 days of holding their breath. After the powerhouse 2017 debut Bottom of the Barrel and its 2018 follow up, All The King’s Horses, August 20th, 2021 saw the release of Come Clean Right Now, a smashing third release from the Cincinnati, OH duo, which consists of vocalist/cellist Kate Wakefield and drummer Daisy Caplan. After Clean not only lived up to, but improved on the stunning first two albums, no one could help but look forward to even more. But fortunately the wait wasn’t long and everyone got to breathe air into their lungs after only a little over a year with the release of Let It Be Gone, their most accessible album yet. Wakefield and Caplan, however, had been waiting much, much longer to release Gone.
The duo share that the album “took a long time to really form itself,” but also add that “it feels like it’s coming out right on time. Over 30 songs were considered for it, we reordered the tracks and remastered it three times. It finally feels like the album it should be, and it wouldn’t have been if it came out as soon as we recorded it,” says Caplan. The duo also recognize that its fully formed final incarnation arrived right on time with Wakefield adding “I feel like this album is strangely more relevant now [than when it was written]. There is a line that is in one of our songs, ‘Miles Per Hour,’ to be free is to give in to a life worth living in, with all of the changes in the last few years, that line really rings true to me. The need for music, connection and purpose are stronger now. The need to actively live, rather than just numb the senses with whatever vice is in the nearest reach, feels strong.”
Lung (photo by Rachelle Caplan)
Nothing about Lung can be seen as ordinary. Their instrumentation as a sole cello/drum power duo and their eclectic style which mixes indie, prog, punk, metal, goth, classical, and opera make them one of the most unique bands out there. On top of this, they craft songs that can easily be sung or hummed along with. Take “Her Voice Is What Follows,” which contains the catchiest cello riff of all time (sorry Apocalyptica), and there’s a song that can be as stuck in one’s head as a pop song but is still this distinctive mix of styles. So it should come as no surprise that their album chronology is not ordinary either. This release was actually written before Clean, in the ancient time of the pre-Covid era. The nautical theme that permeates the album draws parallels to Lung’s life on the road in 2018-2019, when they were relentlessly touring, and settling down in one location seemed impossible.
Caplan states that this album was written with the idea that home isn’t a set place, but the road itself, or wherever one happens to be at a given time. He elaborated saying: “The album’s theme is a general movement away from the idea of home as a place, i.e. Cincinnati, OH or wherever, and more of the road itself as a home wherever you are (or aren’t) at a given time. We were traveling a lot on tour, and in our absence our homes changed, people changed, times changed. Touring gives you a unique vantage point to places you don’t live as well as places you do—by popping in at intervals, you see gradual changes happen in fast motion, while you remain in stasis.”
With the ocean still being so unexplored, using being lost at sea as a metaphor for life on the road brings in a mystical factor that couldn’t fit better with Lung’s metaphysical sounding music. Album highlight “Siren Song,” adding in Wakefield’s haunting vocalizations and lyrics which sound as if she’s a bard singing the epic journey of Odysseus, perfectly exemplifies the mythical feel of the record.
Despite the album sounding as if it came from Poseidon-cursed, Siren-filled waters, it is not about an ancient hero or a far away deity, but about Wakefield and Caplan themselves. The nomadic concept is not just a theme, but an honest feeling they are trying to convey, something that is a part of them. “And I feel it coming from my bones,” Wakefield sings on the closing track, “Bones” as if she’s begging the listener to understand that the feelings of this album are coming from an extremely deep place.
When the pandemic hit and the band was in quarantine, Come Clean Right Now’s release resonated because it sounded like a fit of rage against the walls closing in. Let It Be Gone underwent various changes through its journeyed early life, but was also biding its time until it could be released when its nomadic nature could feel honest again. To Caplan, Gone is a time capsule, invoking that feeling of the pre-pandemic time for the band, saying “Largely because of the pandemic, people tend to forget that 2017-2019 was not the rosiest of times for much of anyone, and the ensuing chaos only exacerbated problems that already existed. As it became a “normal” to get back to, many of the difficulties of the time were erased in the collective memory. This album is a direct portraiture of our collective experiences in those times and so much has happened in the intervening three years that it’s become kind of an instant time capsule. It’s a historical document of a time period we haven’t quite left, but still seems like a different world. It’s like reading a novel with eerie parallels to your own life.”
Lung live in 2018 (photo by Kate Hoos)
Although the pandemic is supposedly “over ” and things are “normal” again, many people now have a feeling of uncertainty, that nothing is forever, that everyone is wandering through life without any solid home. Wakefield and Caplan strike a chord with everyone feeling this way, using incredibly unique music to do it, and have thus created an album that will be appreciated for many, many more years than it took to find its release and its new nomadic home amongst the ever growing world of Lung fans.
Let It Be Gone is out now via Romanus Records and available on all major streaming services.