Despite having released two delightful little albums now, Tunng has been dumped into no-man's land once again with the domestic release of their second album Comments Of The Inner Chorus. Like their debut album Mother's Daughter and Other Songs, it finds itself being released in the United States nearly a year after coming out in its home country, robbing it of any international momentum and relegating it to the has-been's stack in fighting it out for discussion with newer albums. It's kind of a bummer too, because it's a fun little release that pays off and rewards on multiple listens with clever little production details.
When I heard the debut from the group, I was reminded of work by The Books, and that connection isn't too far off. Both groups used chopped-up bits of organic instrumentation like acoustic guitars and other little bits of found sound and odd percussion to create their music, and like The Books, Tunng have grown more vocal-based (and perhaps even a bit more instrumentation-focused) on this follow up. After a standard-definition opening track (some filtered bits that set the mood but don't really go anywhere), the group really starts things off nicely with "Woodcat." On it, dual acoustic guitar phrases wind around one another as some warm vocals croon some nostalgic words before the track shifts with some hiccuping programming and great female backup vocals.
"The Wind-Up Bird" follows, and it might be the strongest track on the release as multiple pieces of acoustic guitar and banjo build on top of one another before shuttering beats, strings, harmonized vocals, and playful electronic glitchery turn the track into something truly delightful. Another standout is the odd "Jenny Again," which mixes a clipped spoken word sample in alongside some more delicate guitar and fragile vocals, clicky programming and low-end rumbles. Like many of the other songs on the release, the electronics are much more subtle than on the bands debut, and while it makes for something slightly less dynamic, it does show off their ability to write slightly off-kilter pop songs that are quite engaging.
Sometimes, they let things get a little too safe, and the second half of the album has a couple tracks that drag a bit, including the Beta Band b-side-esque "Man In The Box" and the unfocused "Stories," (which seems to only be included to make sure a sample with the album-title gets used). Those caveats aside, Comments Of The Inner Chorus is a nice little second album from a group that definitely deserves some interest.