last update: 24.07.13
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You don’t need to be Freud to regard teeth as a delicate
issue. They can make joy look joyous and pain look
painful, and on the cover of the new múm album they do
both at the same time. As „Yesterday Was Dramatic –
Today Is Okay“ (2001), „Finally We Are No One“ (2002)
and „Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know“ (2009)
„Smilewound“ is another example of the band’s art of
juxtaposing two conflicting meanings and taking
advantage of the energy created through the tension
Sparser in sound than many of its predecessors,
„Smilewound“ is an airy, relaxed record. The múm-coreduo
of Örvar and Gunni doesn’t make you laugh out loud
(except maybe for the quirky vintage Arcade-sound-start
of „When Girls Collide“), but it will make you smile often -
despite the heavenly voices singing about violence in one
form or another in most songs. Musically, múm’s capability
to build playful electronic sound-ornaments around simple
melodies is in full bloom. And these days they know that
trimming the ornamentation can strengthen the melody.
Take „The Colorful Stabwound“: an aguish drum’n’bass
piece and„Smilewound“ gets close to a straight pop-song.
Even that isn’t very close, but it combines its rhythmic
strength with a simple yet effective piano-line and the
soothing lushness of a female voice to something
compelling that follows you like the smell of a delicate eau
de toilette. Or „Candlestick“ which started out as a little
ditty strummed on an acoustic guitar many years ago and
has grown into this bouncy piece of synth-pop that
changes its musical colours every couple of beats until you
feel comfortably dizzy. Perfect pop in very fancy clothes.
No wonder that antipodean pop-princess Kylie Minogue
wanted to collaborate with múm on the „Whistle“, the
main song in 2012-movie „Jack & Diane“.
Recorded in, among other places, the band’s practicespace,
an old baltic farmhouse and on the kitchen-table
after dinner, the album was produced by múm themselves.
And being the revolving collective they are, it comes as no
surprise that we see the return of former member Gyda.
Defining satellites as part of the core fits nicely with the
band’s penchant for ambivalence - in fact that's part of the