Finally We Are No One

/fat cat; 2002/

rating : 8.5



more info :

I don't listen to a lot of electronica. There's already so many things to buy in the indie rock/pop department. anyway. I stumbled on Múm's debut lp, "Yesterday was Dramatic, Today is Ok" sometime last year and I fell in love with it. Múm are a four piece band from Iceland, two guys and two lovely twin sisters (the Valtýsdóttir sisters, they're on the cover of Belle & Sebastian's "Fold your hands child...", contact us if you know or are them) making beautiful warm electronic music which sounds like it's not made with computers but with wooden stuff. Wooden electro. The Valtýsdóttir sisters play a wide range of analog instruments (piano, accordion, violin, guitar, glockenspiel...) and sing with cute fragile voices while the two guys make some noise in the back with computers. Múm's greatest achievement and singularity is this symbiosis between analog and digital sound. The beginning of "Finally we are no one" is shamelessly pop. "Green Grass of Tunnel" (first single) almost sounds like what Stina Nordenstam could sound like if she chose a good producer (i may not be totally objective about this, being totally obsessed with "And She Closed her Eyes" at the moment). But as surprising as it may sound these pop songs are not what i like best in this cd.

I don't think it is honestly possible not to like them. Disarming innocence. The instrumentals would make a great soundtrack to an improbable Hayao Miyazaki remake of Peter Pan, with flying children laughing in the background, playing hide & seek with friendly ghosts and imaginary monsters. Mum's music sounds like it's made out of pure careless innocence. It sounds like a tribute to the short Icelandic days, music for the cold sun. But behind the warmth of the melodies and arrangements lies unsuspected darkness. I guess you could feel it better on "Yesterday was Dramatic, Today is Ok" (listen to "Ballad of the Broken Birdie Records"), even though the second half of the album (starting with the haunting "K/half noise") is darker than the first. "i can't feel my hand anymore, it's allright, sleep still" is impressive, the easiest and most obvious comparison would be Godspeed You Black Emperor's most intense pieces. Múm have a lot in common with GYBE!, musically speaking. They make "human" music, using classical instruments, often reaching impressive intensity. 

The (great) last song on this (great) album, "The Land between Solar System" makes me think of Angelo Badalamenti's score for Twin Peaks. It has the same cold dreamy quality (with an extra angelic voice and less 80ish gimmicks.) This is a great album, now go out, get it and thank me for allowing you to pretend you're cool at parties saying "oh, this reminds me of that band, you know, an Icelandic band, with the girls on the cover of 'fold your hands child'..." 

-Barbara H.