How NOT to write about music – 138. Lankum


Goddamn. I am loving this band so much.

Back when I helped helm magazines such as Plan B and Careless Talk Costs Lives (all though the 2000s, in fact), there is no way we would have passed over such rare talents as Dublin’s Lankum. Such emotional, deceptively simple music. The sound of a drone, constant and unsettling. The sound of a drum, slowly beating. Heartbeats. The sound of raw, beautiful voices singing tales of rawness, of beauty. There is so little to dislike here, it throws the rest of life – of your fucking culture – into sharp relief. And not in a good way. Lankum make you appreciate that yes, there are still people out there who care, who can sing, who understand the dreariness of the mundane and the ecstatic pull of the soil. They recall Young People to me (the unknown band we made cover stars of the penultimate issue of Careless Talk: I used the feature as a way of trying to come to terms with my father’s impending death). There’s something unbidden about this music. Just gorgeous. They recall Brighton’s Hamilton Yarns to me, the clarion call of the trumpet. Distant, unbidden.

Just recently I have been enjoying the twin peaks of televisual splendour: The Detectorists and Worzel Gummidge, and it’s the attention to detail, the small things, the minutiae that I so rarely feel these days… the heart, the warmth, the friendships, the companionship, so much of which is missing from my life these days and yet I know that I have but to reach out my hand and grab it. This is what Lankum remind me of, most of all – the secret ways, the fading maps – and this is why I love them so dearly.

Lankum: Dublin folk miscreants. That is a reasonable way of summing them up.