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.
Review by Tim DiGravina