Best of 2021: Macie Stewart (Ohmme) Got Hooked on LUMP’s New Record

The multi-instrumentalist talks love-at-first-listen with Animal.

I picked the album Animal by LUMP. Sima and I did a couple dates with our friend Spencer on drums earlier this year, and after one of those runs, Spencer texted us both, “Have you heard this album? You’ve gotta listen to this record.” I put it on, and I was immediately hooked by it. 

I think a lot of the time, when I listen to records, I have to listen to them a couple times to really dive in — some of my favorite records, I had to go back to. But this one, on the first listen I was like, Wow, this is exactly what I want to be listening to right now. I love the arrangements of the record, and the sonic space that it occupies. It has some really strange, ambient textures surrounding so many of the songs; it’s also very groove-based at the same time. But everything feels slightly off, which draws me in a lot, because I like to be surprised and I like to actively listen to whatever I’m listening to. I feel like it’s really kind of intuitive to do that with this album.  

All of that is not to say that I don’t love the songs, too. I think that the songwriting on it is really wonderful. Particularly “Bloom At Night,” which is the first song, and “Climb Every Wall” — that one got me good. 

They’ve released some albums before too, but I really particularly like this one. It feels different from some of their other records. It’s a very cinematic record, I think — when it opens, you hear Laura Marling’s voice so clearly in the first song. Hearing her voice with all of this warmth and kind of ambient texture around it, as an opening to a record, is very striking. I think that the record as a whole flows really well too. 

After a year of not hearing anything live, this record was really exciting, because it’s not super straightforward. A lot of the things I love about live music are the twists and turns and unexpectedness, and I think this record captures a lot of that. It captures that energy of discovery in a really wonderful way. 

I had more time to listen to things the last two years than I really had since I was a child. I think having that space for taking in art and truly listening to new things created an environment in my life where I could really get inside of an album again. It’s a relieving feeling to know that is still out there. The last couple of years were a really isolating time, and felt really lonely at some points, and I think that this record to me was really beautiful, because — at least the way I was interpreting it — a lot of the topics are about struggling to communicate, and knowing that there is beauty out there but you just might not be able to sense it from where you are right now. I think it also has a lot to do with the intensity and deep feelings of desire and wanting these things you may not have. Being able to combine this hopefulness with this intense darkness is something that made this album really stand out to me.

As told to Annie Fell.

(Photo Credit: left, Ash Dye)

Chicago duo Ohmme was started by Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham in the summer of 2014, combining their love for lush vocals and songwriting with their love of experimentation and sound.

(Photo Credit: Ash Dye)