múm: Sing Along To Songs You Don't Know - Album of the Month - September 2009

~ Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Can you hear that? It is the sound of musical genius at work, because this is a pretty stunning piece of work from the Icelandic band. It's folk. Well, sort off. There are hints of electronica, country and pop in here, but basically it is folk albeit with a substantial pop twist.

If I Were A Fish is a perfect opening shot. The eccentric musical arrangement sets the tone for the whole album. We find ourselves in the company of a multitude of instruments including glockenspiel, ukulele, marimba, dulcimer and even find a few guests popping up in the shape of the Estonian Suisapäisa Mixed choir and a parakeet!

The band has seen many personnel changes since its conception in the late Nineties and also seen a shift in their musical direction. The electronica element of their early work is replaced by a more acoustic vibe, but those old influences resurface on the left field Sing Along, but the band really come into their own when they play in the quirky side of pop and
Hullaballabalú is everything you could want from a slice of pop. Brooding bass line grumbling away and layered brass mixing with the dual vocals to give this song incredible depth. Prophecies & Reversed Memories is also up there for contender of best track, the driving drums breathing a life into the song that is hugely endearing.

The clever use of instrumentation is what makes this album so special. A River Don't Stop To Breathe and Blow Your Nose both demonstrate this perfectly. The use of the strings in the arrangements and there layering is inspired. For me the cherry on the top of the cake is the beguiling closer, Ladies Of The New Century. This chilled piano based song plays with space and harmonies that simply leaves you feeling warm inside.

This an album that continually grows on you and gives up something new on every listen. This is music to get lost in.


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Listen to múm: Hullaballabalú