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Alternative & Indie - Released May 20, 2002 | Fatcat Records

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Ambient - Released August 30, 2019 | Morr Music

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Ambient - Released October 4, 2005 | Morr Music

Iceland's Múm proves to be as successful at creating emotional ambient electronic music as they are at posing for album covers (the twin sisters in the band appeared on the sleeve of Belle & Sebastian's Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant). Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK blends equal parts early Aphex Twin atmosphere, glitchy clicks reminiscent of Autechre, and dramatic musical elements that evoke the sorrow and glory of compatriot's Sigur Rós. Múm allow their songs to stretch out into lush, lengthy arrangements as a synthetic accordion mingles with rolling beats, icy analog effects, beeping instruments that recall some fantastic Disney ride, and the occasional female voice humming or singing quietly. Melodicas, glockenspiels, and other exotic instruments spur recurring motifs of sadness and joy. When the album isn't operating as a perfect postmodern lullaby, Múm is at work crafting memorable melodies. "Awake on a Train" is typical of the startling beauty the band achieves throughout the album, as tinkering keyboards and a lone voice work as aural tearjerkers. "The Ballad of the Broken Birdie Records" suggests what the pairing of Cocteau Twins and Mike Paradinas might have sounded like, as throbbing, hazy electronics lean against haunting vocals. "Sunday Night Just Keeps on Rolling" brings to mind tiny ships sounding off to each other across a sea of flowing lava. Though the album is modern in its inception, the music is effortlessly timeless and thoroughly engrossing. Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK is an unmitigated, accessible masterpiece. © Tim DiGravina /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 6, 2013 | Morr Music

Múm defined their approach -- twinkling electronics, wispy vocals, acoustic instrumentation here and there -- so clearly on their first few albums that the rest of the collective's work often seemed caught between staying in place and branching out. They do a little of each on Smilewound, which marks the return of founding member Gyða Valtýsdóttir, one half of the twin vocalists who helped craft Múm's signature sound. Adding her to the fold again allows the group to revisit the pastoral folktronica of yore, most potently on "Slow Down," a half-speed chase so delicate it sounds in danger of floating away before it can reach listeners' ears. Meanwhile, Hildur Guðnadóttir -- who joined the band with 2007's Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy -- represents the more dynamic, experimental approach of the collective's later work on standouts like the sprightly 8 bit-synth-driven workout "When Girls Collide" or the drum'n'bass-tinged "The Colorful Stabwound." Ideally, these sounds should balance each other, but too often switching from style to style makes Smilewound unfocused. As on Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy and Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know, having multiple vocalists makes for a fragmented listening experience, and tracks like the drifting "Eternity Is the Wait Between Breaths" feel aimless on an album that already needs more direction. Thematically, Múm return to contrasting innocence and danger, and the results -- as with many things on this album -- are mixed. "Underwater Snow" pits cozily twinkling pianos against rumbling beats in a way that suggests breaking a snowglobe; "Time to Scream and Shout," a perversely whispered lullaby of destruction, feels almost like a parody of their approach. However, Múm make up for it with "Candlestick," Smilewound's most exciting song and one of their most potent mixes of sweetness and violence yet. Over brisk synth-pop, Guðnadóttir flirts by threatening to smash her beloved with the titular blunt object before deciding "I kind of like your face the way it is." It's even catchier than "Whistle," the group's collaboration with pop queen Kylie Minogue, which closes the album with a pretty, if not thrilling, slice of their signature sound. Smilewound is all over the place; Múm are doing a lot, and doing some of it well, but they never bring it together in a coherent statement. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released June 1, 2012 | Morr Music

Múm's Early Birds lives up to its name, gathering the first recordings of the band that would help pioneer the music known as "indietronic" a few years later. Sonically, these songs, which date from 1998 to 2000, show that the pieces of Múm's aesthetic were more or less in place from the start: "Bak þitt Er Sem Rennibraut" boasts the naive, limpid synth tones and intricate yet understated beats that characterized albums like Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK. The one notable absence is that of Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir's childlike soprano vocals, which helped crystallize the sweet, sometimes sinister sound of Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason's arrangements. Indeed, Early Birds is largely instrumental, which exposes the underpinnings of Múm's songs more than most of their albums did; "Gingúrt"'s buzzy melody and busy beats sound like a collaboration between Plone and Aphex Twin, while "Insert Coin [Bjarne Riis Arcade Game Mjiks Eftir Múm]" hints at a chiptune influence with its 8-bit tones and fizzy guitars. The collection boasts a generous amount of tracks, some of which were never previously released, like "Hvernig á Að Særa Vini Sína," and others, such as the breakbeat-heavy "Glerbrot," which simply got lost in the shuffle. Given that Early Birds is an hour-plus odds-and-sods compilation, it's not surprising that it doesn't flow like a proper album, but it does show that Múm knew what they were doing from the start. This comprehensive audio sketchbook will please fans who want to trace the evolution of one of the most distinctive-sounding electronic pop groups of the 2000s. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released September 10, 2001 | Morr Music

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Rock - Released July 1, 2011 | Fatcat Records

The Peel Session was recorded in October 2002, just two years before iconic BBC-1 radio host John Peel's death. It's a small affair, just a four-song EP with a scribbly paper cover designed by Múm themselves; three of the tracks are from their debut, Yesterday Was Dramatic, and the fourth is from (the then brand-new) Finally We Are No One. "Now There Is That Fear Again" is altogether heavier and more organic on this recording; it swells with ponderous drums and icy, unearthly vocals. "The Ballad of the Broken String," too, takes on a darker, grainier texture with its live treatment. The other two tracks, "Scratched Bicycle/Smell Memory" and "Awake on a Train," take on little additional depth in this setting, though. There's a dearth of extra material (Peel makes no appearance here and there are no liner notes), which is a small disappointment. This isn't to say that Múm are any less ethereal or lovely in this incarnation, however. The Peel Session isn't an essential EP by any stretch of the imagination, and given its limited scope it probably wouldn't make a good starting point for newbies. But serious Múm fans itching to complete their collections will probably like what they find on this little disc. © Margaret Reges /TiVo
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Electronic - Released August 21, 2009 | Morr Music

Mum made a big change in their sound with Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, replacing their lead vocalists and favoring a more focused approach than they did on their earlier albums. Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know isn't quite as drastically different, but it shows Mum's sound is still in flux: while these songs still show off the band's exquisite ear for detail, they're much less overtly electronic than their earlier work or even Go Go Smear, trading most of their naïve-sounding beats and synths for quirky but decidedly acoustic touches like prepared piano, marimba, hammered dulcimer, and a string quartet. The results are bustling, pastoral, indie pop that is often strangely outdoorsy and subtle -- parts of Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know feel like one long song. Of course, there are standouts: On the winsome side, "Sing Along" goes from big and brassy to a campfire singalong with music box accompaniment, while "Prophecies and Reversed Memories" bounces along on ukuleles and Jew's harps. Mum haven't lost their flair for drama, though, as the gorgeous, slow-building strings and marimba of "A River Don't Stop to Breathe" -- both of which turn frosty on the majestic "Illuminated" -- prove. These songs are among the finest Mum have written, even if they sound more than a little different than much of their discography. Indeed, what may be most impressive about Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know is how fully the band seizes the opportunity to change while keeping their wide-eyed essence. "The Smell of Today is Sweet Like Breast Milk in the Wind" boasts one of the band's most daring arrangements, throwing together a tinny beat that sounds like it's from a toy instrument with Afro-pop tinged guitars, swooping synths, and strings, yet the singsong melody is pure Mum. The track stands in direct, almost jarring contrast to the hazy folk of "Last Shapes of Never," "Blow Your Nose," and "If I Were a Fish," and the closing lullaby "Ladies of the New Century," but Mum's ability to make these sounds play (mostly) nicely together on the same album is a testament to how their sound continues to evolve. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Electronic - Released February 16, 2018 | Morr Music

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Pop/Rock - Released September 6, 2013 | A Number Of Small Things

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 12, 2004 | Fatcat Records

After the pastoral pop of Finally We Are No One, Múm returned with Summer Make Good, which continues the more organic-sounding trend of the group's previous album, but with a darker and more theatrical feel than any of their other work. "Hú Hviss - A Ship" lasts scarcely more than a minute, but it signals the rest of the album's spooky beauty with a soundscape of wind, creaking wood, and what might as well be whale songs. The album has a sense of drama that is a welcome addition to Múm's sound, especially on "Weeping Rock, Rock," a slow-building epic that makes the most of the electronic-meets-symphonic sound that the band has forged since Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK. The song's brass, powerful but intricate drums, and focus on Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir's distinctive, childlike voice won't diminish the comparisons between Múm and Björk, especially since Múm has made vocals a bigger part of their music with each release. However, Múm's music is more organic and delicate than Björk's is, and Valtýsdóttir's voice is far more ethereal and diffuse. Indeed, her singing is so delicate that the group's decision to emphasize it doesn't always lead to immediately compelling results. That's not to say tracks such as "The Ghosts You Draw on My Back" aren't lovely, but instrumental pieces like the Broadcast-esque "Away" and "Stir," which sounds like eddies of wind chasing each other, tend to be more arresting on first listen. The songs that use Valtýsdóttir's voice as another instrument, including the return to Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK-style electronica of "Sing Me Out the Window," also work well. Summer Make Good's melancholy lifts a bit in the middle of the album on the angel-spun "The Islands of the Childrens Children," a gorgeous song that takes the joyful feeling of Finally We Are No One and multiplies it by ten. It makes the song an even sharper contrast to the rest of the album's gentle sadness, which peaks on "Oh, How the Boat Drifts" and the eerily lovely "Will the Summer Make Good for All of Our Sins?" Summer Make Good may be Múm's quietest and most impressionistic album yet; what they're able to do with silence and near-silence is impressive, particularly on the serene, softly rounded "Nightly Cares" and "Abandoned Ship Bells," which drifts the album to a close. Its quietness and moodiness make Summer Make Good Múm's most demanding album, but also, fortunately, a rewarding one too. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Released July 1, 2011 | Fatcat Records

After the pastoral pop of Finally We Are No One, Múm returned with Summer Make Good, which continues the more organic-sounding trend of the group's previous album, but with a darker and more theatrical feel than any of their other work. "Hú Hviss - A Ship" lasts scarcely more than a minute, but it signals the rest of the album's spooky beauty with a soundscape of wind, creaking wood, and what might as well be whale songs. The album has a sense of drama that is a welcome addition to Múm's sound, especially on "Weeping Rock, Rock," a slow-building epic that makes the most of the electronic-meets-symphonic sound that the band has forged since Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK. The song's brass, powerful but intricate drums, and focus on Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir's distinctive, childlike voice won't diminish the comparisons between Múm and Björk, especially since Múm has made vocals a bigger part of their music with each release. However, Múm's music is more organic and delicate than Björk's is, and Valtýsdóttir's voice is far more ethereal and diffuse. Indeed, her singing is so delicate that the group's decision to emphasize it doesn't always lead to immediately compelling results. That's not to say tracks such as "The Ghosts You Draw on My Back" aren't lovely, but instrumental pieces like the Broadcast-esque "Away" and "Stir," which sounds like eddies of wind chasing each other, tend to be more arresting on first listen. The songs that use Valtýsdóttir's voice as another instrument, including the return to Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK-style electronica of "Sing Me Out the Window," also work well. Summer Make Good's melancholy lifts a bit in the middle of the album on the angel-spun "The Islands of the Childrens Children," a gorgeous song that takes the joyful feeling of Finally We Are No One and multiplies it by ten. It makes the song an even sharper contrast to the rest of the album's gentle sadness, which peaks on "Oh, How the Boat Drifts" and the eerily lovely "Will the Summer Make Good for All of Our Sins?" Summer Make Good may be Múm's quietest and most impressionistic album yet; what they're able to do with silence and near-silence is impressive, particularly on the serene, softly rounded "Nightly Cares" and "Abandoned Ship Bells," which drifts the album to a close. Its quietness and moodiness make Summer Make Good Múm's most demanding album, but also, fortunately, a rewarding one too. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 12, 2019 | Tratore

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Pop - Released September 20, 2013 | Sound Of A Handshake

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Electronic - Released June 1, 2005 | klein records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 2004 | Fatcat Records

Dusk Log features four songs that are in keeping with the more organic sound of Múm's previous full-length, Summer Make Good. Tracks such as "Kostrzyn" rely even more heavily on acoustic instrumentation -- in this case, rousing horns and strings -- despite the skittering beats and bloopy synths around their peripheries. This song and "This Nothing in the Faraway" are decidedly more tossed-off than anything on the sometimes overdone Summer Make Good, but that's part of their charm, and their cheerier sound makes the EP a more instantly engaging listen than the album was. Dusk Log's immediacy also, arguably, makes a better setting for "Will the Summer Make Good for All of Our Sins?"'s fairytale-like mix of whimsical beauty and potentially dangerous strangeness. The EP comes to a close with "Boots of Fog," one of the most abstract tracks Múm has done in a while: scratchy noises and snippets of melodies drift in and out, and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir's vocals pile on top of each other, resulting in fractured, dreamlike folk. The song, like the rest of Dusk Log, is a compact reminder of how good Múm is at hazy, sketchy outlines and intricate sonic doodles. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2007 | [PIAS] Recordings Catalogue

All too often, when a band loses core members, it's a bad sign -- and that goes double if the departing member is a vocalist. In Múm's case, however, paring down to just Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason opened an array of possibilities for Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy. Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir's elfin vocals came to define Múm just as much as, if not more than, the twinkling mix of electronics and indie pop that surrounded her, and by the time of Summer Make Good, that sound -- which felt so fresh circa Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Was OK -- seemed a little predictable. For this album, Tynes and Smárason brought in an entirely new crew of musicians, including two vocalists, Hildur Guðnadóttir and Mr. Silla. Adding just one new singer can alter a group's sound radically; with two new voices on Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy, the changes are dramatic -- but they're also more than just OK. Tynes and Smárason sound liberated from any expectations of what a Múm album should be, and they take the opportunity to stretch out and try some new approaches. The hazy, strange innocence of the band's previous work sounded like Múm was somehow able to commit the fever dreams of sickly children to tape; here, Múm's music is still sparkling and childlike, but it's also much brighter and livelier. "Blessed Brambles"' sprightly, ping-ponging beats and chanted boy-girl vocals make it clear that this is a different Múm right from the start, and the band spends the rest of Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy moving away from their old sound. Sometimes, they take baby steps: "Marmalade Fires"' gently rolling melody and distorted beats are quintessentially Múm, but the song is more structured and immediate than most of the band's other work. "These Eyes Are Berries" could be from some lost, twisted children's album; its brass, glockenspiel, and singalong "la la la"s are undeniably cheery, but the sudden, ominous twists the song takes give the impression of dancing too close to the darkest part of an enchanted forest. Other times, Múm takes steps so big, they really should be called leaps. "Dancing Behind My Eyelids" is easily one of the band's most animated tracks, with a beat that sounds like a hyperactive typewriter and a melody as chilly and sweet as frosted snowflakes. "Moon Pulls," however, gets the honor of being Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy's most striking and unique song: its gorgeous, contemplative melody and Mr. Silla's plaintive vocals make it more akin to Misery Is a Butterfly-era Blonde Redhead than anything in Múm's catalog. All of the album's experimentation takes some getting used to -- as does its asymmetric track listing, which begins with full-fledged songs and tapers down to wordless interludes like "Rhubarbidoo"'s toy instrument fanfares. Some fans will miss Múm's wispier, bygone days, but those willing to give the band a chance to change and grow will welcome the chance to get to know them all over again. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Rock - Released April 30, 2020 | Retro Yapım

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Mum

Electronic - Released June 1, 2005 | klein records

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Bossa Nova & Brazil - Released July 12, 2019 | Tratore