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Múm - Finally We Are No One

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Artist: Múm

Album: Finally We Are No One

Label: FatCat

Review date: Aug. 19, 2002

Sputtering Scandinavian Soul

Nordic folk music, of the sort peddled by Northside Digital (refer, or rather bow down, to the Nordic Roots compilation series) is one of the most nourishing sounds on this cold, hard globe. Haunted, heartbroken, stoic and profoundly timeless, it brings moisture to the eye. It’s the sound that’s been so effectively exploited by Sigur Rós, and it provides the essence for Iceland’s Múm. Unfortunately, on Finally We Are No One, Múm can’t seem to decide whether it wants to set the mood or keep the pace, and its contradictions can be a bit perplexing the first few go-rounds.

Now, many passages on this disc ooze icy beauty, make no mistake. There are minutes of chilling suspension and moments where the blizzard changes just enough so that only the most persevering believer would notice. You might want to travel the world with only Finally We Are No One on your person, to get to know it as well as it deserves.

Anyroute, you’ve got Scandinavian soul, Múm. You do.

But the electro-percussion, which sounds like a music box that once played a tinkling mimic of “Supa Dupa Fly” spinning rapidly out of control, throws a wrench in the works. Suddenly, the whole thing sounds a lot cuter and a lot more dated. Is it a brilliant annoyance or simply an annoyance? It certainly doesn’t seem to belong. Likewise the creepy / horny little-girl vocals. The wintry passion still bleeds through the thin, fashionable skin, but one wonders if said passion would be granted a hearing if it couldn’t be served as a sparkling tchotchke for Eurotrash wannabes.

Damn you, Bjork. Damn your skull.

It’ll take awhile to dance lovingly with the spirit of this thing. It’s worth keeping around. It’s impossible to wrap it up in a few words. And it’s a bit spooky to imagine how Finally We Are No One will sound when it’s gimmicks wear off. Múm may or may not grow a patina. We’ll see. If it does, it’ll be worth the wait.

PS: Múm features the twins that appeared on the cover of Belle and Sebastian’s shitty Fold Your Hands, Child, You Walk Like A Peasant, if that means anything to the likes of you.

By Emerson Dameron

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