The Icelandic band Múm is composed of two beat-programming, synth-jockeying pinup boys and classically trained twin girls who play everything from the glockenspiel to the viola. As evidenced by that other "it" band from Iceland, Sigur Rós, not to mention Björk, there's got to be something in the water up there that causes musicians to make profoundly original albums.
Listening to Múm's latest is, as the old commercials used to say, like biting into a York Peppermint Pattie: Close your eyes and open your ears and you can imagine yourself gliding over an Icelandic glacier, dipping through pools of crystal water, and zipping through snowstorms in which, miraculously, you feel perfectly warm. The album is a collage of soundscapes made up of ambient, droning bass lines; sputtering, glitch-inspired beats that click and wiggle in the background; keyboards that gently massage; and vocals that sound as if they were being delivered by a nine-year-old prodigy.
The amazing part, though, is that somewhere in its downy aesthetic, Finally We Are No One still manages an experimental edge that makes it indispensable as both a progressive electronic record and one of the sweetest little indie-rock albums you've ever heard. Like Kid A, it's experimental music disguised as pop. However, where Radiohead's efforts were lined with woe and cynicism, Múm holds its chin up and delivers a charmed album full of hope and grace. Where Kid A advocates apathy as a means of dealing with our caustic, mentally oppressive day-to-day lives, Múm prescribes empathy.
With Finally We Are No One, Múm has crafted a delicate album, something special and memorable.
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