Stumpwork, the follow-up to 2021’s New Long Leg. The South London-based group’s first studio album, recorded in just two weeks with producer John Parish at the iconic Rockfield Studios, became a huge critical and commercial success, featuring in best-of-2021 polls across the board. Buoyed by its success, Nick Buxton (drums), Tom Dowse (guitar), Lewis Maynard (bass) and Florence Shaw (vocals) returned to rural Wales in late 2021, partnering once more with Parish and engineer Joe Jones. Working from a position of trust in the same studio and with the same team, imposter syndrome and anxiety was replaced by a fresh freedom and openness to explore beyond an already rangy sonic palette, a newfound confidence in their creative vision. A longer period in the studio afforded the time to experiment, improvize, play, and sharpen their table tennis skills.
Stumpwork was inspired by a plethora of events, concepts, and political debacles, be they represented in the icy mess of ambient elements reflecting a certain existential despair, or the surprising warmth in celebrating the lives of loved ones lost through the previous year. Surrealist lyrics are as ever at the forefront – but there is a sensitivity now to the themes of family, money, politics, self-deprecation, and sensuality. Furious alt-rock anthems combine across the record with jangle pop and ambient noise, demonstrating the wealth of influences the band feed off and their deep musicality. With the pressure of their debut album behind them, Dry Cleaning have crafted an ambitious and deeply rewarding new work that marks them out as one of the most intelligent and exciting acts to come out of the UK.