Thursday, July 12, 2007

Reviews:: Mum Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy

A lot has changed in three years (not any of my favorite band t-shirts but still), especially what is hot in indie music. A few years ago, quirky, spasticated, ethereal organic, electro bands weren't really blowing up, but in '07 people are all over it. Panda Bear, Dan Deacon, Animal Collective are becoming blog-hold names, and now after a few listens I can happily erase any doubts I had about the new Mum record.

It's been 3 years since the last release, and the band is essentially a bigger shell of it's former self. With only two original members (the band had some reductions and lost the twins - Kristin Anna and Gyoa) and grew to a whopping seven member outfit. Obviously, Mum (as fans knew them) exists more in name than in reality, as you can't undergo such big changes over such a long period of time and expect everything to be status quo.

Personally, I think the change suits the band nicely. They still use obscure samples, video game effects and child-like vocal lines, but they seem to be much more concerned with melody. It's still chaotic, but feels more focused and grown up than what I was expecting. They Made Frogs Smoke 'Til They Exploded really sums up the whole experience. Some odd vocals and blips start the track, but the band adds a harmonica and machine gun percussion to forge a melody out of the fog. The first minute is spent setting up the story and for the last three minutes you simply buckle in and enjoy the ride.

The septet sound really helps convert those on the fence, because the tracks don't seem nearly as minimal as the last release. The are fleshed out at just the right time - like how the chimes of These Eyes Are Berries are gradually beefed up with a frantic backbeat and a gritty bass kick) - but each part maintains its identity and fits appropriately.

I find it hard to describe Mum (and always have). They aren't a band I consistently listen to, but they are a band whose collection I thoroughly enjoy. Not many bands can follow a two-minute atmospheric, harmonic piano track (Moon Pulls) with a fragmented, slow burning epic that uses countless blips and textures and slowly evolves into a beautiful string symphony /movie score (Marmalade Fires). They can combine a hokey waltz sound with rapid fire programming (School Song Misfortune) and Bjork-like vocal insanity and make it work. Guilty Rocks is simply addictive.

MP3:: Behind the Eyelids
This is the first released song from the record, and it's a mind bender. Only 4 minutes in length, there are no vocals until the 2:30 mark. Instead the song focuses on horns, a faint typewriter-esque beat, and a pulsing (surprisingly melodic) collage of sounds. When the vocals kick in, the boy /girl sound is nice, but the computer game beats still take center stage. Why do I like it? I can't be sure, but I most certainly do.

web site :: label :: more mp3s

Posted at 4:20 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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