Have you seen that trailer for the film version of Where The Wild Things Are? It looks alright you know, kind of playful but full of wonder and awe for nature and magic. Walk into this red curtained lecture hall tonight and you get your hand stamped with Maurice Sendak’s little boy figure. I was going to craft a whole overblown metaphor based on this, about how fantasy worlds lie just outside your everyday life, how Múm step through these doors to jitter and jump like some enchanted forest house band, but maybe you wouldn’t appreciate that. Could be just another gig for you. But tonight Múm go from dippy hippy sprites to volcanic chest beaters by great sleight of hand, and you can dance if you like.
How does Nick ‘Gravenhurst’ Talbot fit into all this? Like an icepick maybe: with the massive semicircle of chairs bearing down on him, and commendably silent too, Talbot’s delicate, sparse music bears this weight and throws it right back. There is little else, bar the odd foot-operated tape noise, that is not a man standing onstage, playing electric guitar and singing softly along. He sings high, speaks posh, and quiet, self assured songs show themselves, bones strong as a dinosaur’s. Wonderful stuff, squared by an ending of ‘Black Holes In The Sand’. looped backward and fed through mangled circuitry. Stick that in your craw.
Hard to convey accurately how incredibly fucking Icelandic Múm sound. Band members who can play every instrument onstage, very good English, batty lyrics, sweeping, glacial epic pop with harmonies up to heaven… and glowing drumsticks. What starts off professionally brilliant soon gets more interesting: simple, slightly cold string-ed beauties become, by ‘Blessed Brambles’, become wonky party gems, warped hoedowns in endless amounts. (They also enlist double melodica, the sexiest instrument in modern music.) This all culminates in some very long finale of double recorder, an Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull stance, a billion instrument changes, and everyone dancing in their brain. And THIS all culminates in an encore that’s all weird sounds, no song, and massive bass noise that vibrates eyeballs and chest bones. Cheeky fuckers. We leave the museum woozy, and jump in a lake.