Dry Cleaning’s Stumpwork is by far of the most unique albums to come out of this year.
Stumpwork is the second album from four-piece, Dry Cleaning. High expectations were set after the band’s first album New Long Leg was named Rough Trade’s album of the year in 2021, and it’s safe to say the album has exceeded all expectations.
It is difficult to place Dry Cleaning into a single genre. At first listen they are a post punk band with Stumpwork finding influences in bands such as The Fall and Wire, but they also fall into the genres of psychedelic rock and funk which makes each time listening to Dry Cleaning feel like a new experience.
Lead vocalist Florence Shaw uses a mix of mostly spoken word and singing which makes every song on the album feel as if you are listening to a story told by your monotone voiced friend.
The lyrics are fun and comedic and cover mundane subjects through a distorted lens such as car boot sales and organizing shoes. Shaws twisted vocals alongside heavy basslines from Lewis Maynard and intricate guitar riffs from Tom Dowse make these mundane things feel exiting and leaves you wanting more.
The 45-minute-long album is comprised of 11 songs and opens with Anna Calls From The Arctic, which originally was released as a single before the release of the full album. The song helps to set the tone for the album and gives a look into the unusual lyrics that fill the album.
The two songs that follow, Kwenchy Kups and Gary Ashby, feel uplifting and fun. The sound of the guitar playing in a major key is reminiscent of British indie rock, which contrasts with the haunting, funk inspired feel within the other songs on the album, Hot Penny Day and Liberty Log. The remainder of the songs on the album can be placed into the post punk genre with Conservative Hell and Don’t Press Me fitting into the genre perfectly.
Stumpwork ends on a strong note with the song Icebergs which provides a perfect conclusion to the album. Icebergs can be likened to songs by Black Box Recorder, but still sound extremely unique and new. The whole album could be described in this way, familiar yet unheard of.
My predictions are that this album will be nominated for next year’s Mercury Music Prize or at least will receive some other prestigious recognition. It is one of the most intriguing albums of the year which makes it difficult to stop listening to.
Featured Image Credit: Rolling Stone