Album Review: Lung – All the King’s Horses
Just one year after releasing their first album Cincinnati duo Lung return with their sophomore release All the King’s Horses. Former Foxy Shazam bassist, Daisy Caplan, and cellist Kate Wakefield bonded while performing with Babe Rage. Caplan switched over to drums and the two began playing together after Babe Rage came to an end, eventually forming Lung.
There’s a beautiful duality to All the King’s Horses. Caplan’s heavily punk influenced drumming pairs beautifully with Wakefield’s ability to walk the line between pop and punk vocally. Wakefield, who is classically trained in opera, goes between aggressive and in-your-face to hauntingly beautiful across the album’s fourteen tracks.
The lushly layered melodies and vocals on “Gun” contrast wonderfully with the paranoia laced lyrics. “Mother always said to bring a gun girl if it makes you feel better / Go to your apartment quick and lock the doors so tight / If you can breathe, you’re doing it wrong” Wakefield croons over delicate strings. The verses build to a 90’s fuzz inspired chorus that hits heavy on my love of 90’s alternative.
Lead single “Butcher” also falls closer to the pop genre line. An infectious track that will easily crawl into your head and be stuck there for days. Like “Gun,” “Butcher” rides right along the edge of pop and punk with the edge coming in the lyrics and chorus. Wakefield’s vocals are unsettling, especially when layered over itself throughout the chorus.
While Lung prove they can craft a pop masterpiece, Caplan and Wakefield shine brightest when at they’re going full punk-rock. Wakefield packs so much emotional punch into her vocals that it’s hard not to get swept up and thrash along. You’ll be reeled in right from album opener “The Overgrowth” which kicks off with driving drums and distortion that crashes into Wakefield’s doom filled cello. The desperate vocals feel like a thorny vine grabbing onto you and pulling you further into Lung’s grasp.
Caplan and Wakefield put their own spin on David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans,” updating “Johnny” to “Donald” to make it a bit more current. While Lung keeps the song’s structure intact, they up the intensity of the song by layering Wakefield’s howling vocals over menacing cello and driving drums. The feeling of dread builds throughout the song until it is unleashed in the panicky chorus.
Caplan and Wakefield really show their musical prowess on All the King’s Horses. It’s hard to believe that the full, lush sounds that fill the album were created by two people. Wakefield throws everything into her vocals, drawing the listener in immediately and not letting go until the final note of the album is played. Caplan’s drums compliment Wakefield perfectly, knowing when to take control and back off to allow Wakefield’s usually angry howls blast through. Lung is definitely a band you should have your eye on.