Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Best New Music: Múm's Smilewound

For about ten years, I've been in love with the delicate electronica from Icelandic group Múm - one of the countless Nordic practitioners of progressive songwriting (Sigur Ros and Bjork to name another few). Experimenting with oddball electro-pop for over 15 years, Múm are back with Smilewound - their sixth, typically peculiar but entrancing album that spotlights bouts of twinkling keyboard ("Slow Down" and "Underwater Snow") and sporadic glitch-pop ("One Smile") - flowing unconventionally, but beautifully, from the first beat onward.

Although Múm's dynamic new release is exactly as unique as fans would expect with their track record, Smilewound might be their most perfect balance of eccentricity and accessibility to date; the recipe to netting new followers and getting back on the map. So many "hot" new electronica and house acts are trying to do just what Múm's done here - weave in layers of orchestral magic, sonic weirdness and melody all into one and somehow make it cohesive - but Múm's trusted efforts and new tricks sound so much more effortless. Combining their own quirky history (the return of founding member Gyða Valtýsdóttir) with new ventures (a Kylie Minogue cameo) - I think Smilewound might be the late-career comeback no one saw coming.

Grab Smilewound on September 17.


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