Múm

Finally We Are No One

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    8
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Múm's first album for Fat Cat -- by no coincidence, the label that also broke fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós -- has all the majestic synths, crackly drum machine percussion, sampled silence, and crystalline vocals you'd expect from the country that produced Björk and Sigur Rós, though with less focus on digital sound than the former and less reliance on drama than the latter. Múm is very interested in the music of sound, but Finally We Are No One never sounds like a difficult record; if it's not the instruments sounding naïve or folksy (in good ways), the lisping, childlike vocals are bound to prompt adjectives like adorable and precious. "Green Grass of Tunnel" has the sweet melancholia, coloring-book hip-hop, and slowly shifting chords of poptronica producers like isan or Boards of Canada, and also trades on the wide-eyed fairy-tale qualities of Björk. Apart from the hefty title, "Don't Be Afraid, You Have Just Got Your Eyes Closed" approaches mainstream appeal -- briefly, and at several different times -- with a nice dance beat gradually replaced by a beatbox breakdown, toy xylophone, and a nice trumpet melody. Several individual passages of songs strike an evocative chord, like the string quartet, piano, warm synthesizers, and percussion rumblings of "K/Half Noise" combining to recall the quieter portions of Tortoise's landmark "Djed."

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