Múm - Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy Reviewed

on Sunday, 16 September 2007
Múm - Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy Reviewed
Posted on 2007.09.16 at 16:10
Current Music: Mom - Little Brite
Tags: fat cat records, fatcat records, kanda, mice parade, silent ballet, stereolab, the books, the delgados

Is the new Múm album really so bad?

Múm – Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy (FatCat)

I’ve been quite surprised to see how badly the new album from Icelandic (currently) septet Múm, described on the reliable Silent Ballet website as follows:

“let's just say this is one to put on the shelf and watch it collect dust…this album fails at accomplishing any sort of goal, and even raises the question if one exists in the first place. There's an anxiety behind the track, and many others that really prevents anything from being carried out completely. Thoughts are left completely abandoned, mid-sentence, and rarely do we see anything fleshed out to form any sort of understandable statement.”

Rating it at a measly 3 out of 10, it seems that there has been further negativity towards the album from other reliable sources and so it’s with caution that I stick my neck out, that I pipe up above the crowds and ask “Is it really that bad?” I started this fanzine in paper format initially with the idea of promoting good music, sharing with people music that I have fallen in love with, hence why you will normally find just positive reviews on here, I see no point in telling people what I don’t like, what’s disappointed me. For one of the first times though I feel that I could be wrong, how can there be so much disdain for an album that I have loved from the very first listen to now where new songs keep popping out into the foreground, is it because although having the Múm back catalogue I’ve never given it the time I imagine it deserves, yes I loved Green Grass of Tunnel but really who didn’t? maybe those devout followers were expecting something more spectacular, something more progressive and I’ll admit that at times the timid production does sound like that of a band debut opposed to their fourth/fifth (?) album but to me that adds a certain Icelandic magical charm to it, the delicate icy frozen nature of the twinkling lullaby’s within are made that little bit more childlike and naïve, slowly tip toeing through the snow on cold winters nights.

Perhaps it’s the new line up, after all now not only one of the twins that famously graced Belle & Sebastian’s Fold Your Hands album cover have left the band, with Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir following her sisters footsteps departing at some point in 2006. It was her voice that alongside the electronic glitches, beats and effects, and the variety of traditional and unconventional instruments that made the band’s sound so distinct. So now we have the inclusion of more prominent male vocals not too distant from those of the excellent Mice Parade and particularly on the Books-ian cut up glitch of single They Made Frogs Smoke ‘Til They Exploded the much missed synth pop of Kanda. Marmalade Fires are what the Delgados would’ve sounded like had they purchased a laptop rather than split up. Dancing Behind My Eyelids is again lovely and playful, again reminding us of Kanda and mixing amstrad-esque loading screens with truly delightful melodies. School Song Misfortune is again naïve and playful like some strange childhood dream sequence, lullaby’s for an Icelandic kindergarten.

The closing triplet of songs are somewhat more somber and melancholy in sound, and perhaps those will please long term fans, mainly instrumental and occasionally haunting, particularly so the dense and dark forest walk in the middle of the night that is I Was Her Horse. Guilty Rocks is everything you’ve ever read about Stereolab yet down several times better and closer Winter (What We Never Were After All) is again haunting and angelic icy keyboards set to choir like Viking film chorales, delightful and refreshing, as I listen again I can only convince myself further of how special this album is.



FatCat Records

Múm - Dancing Behind My Eyelids MP3

Múm - They Made Frogs Smoke'Til They Exploded MP3

Múm - Moon Pulls MP3