Early Birds

Mum

Morr Music, 2012

http://mum.is

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/16/2012

Oh, Iceland how you never disappoint. Seems like every time I hear an unknown band from Reykjavik, it's always an intriguing, compelling, and stunning listen. It makes one wonder if generic, run-of-the-mill outfits exist there. Is it possible to walk into a bar in Iceland and hear a carbon copy Green Day band? Do they play local bands on the radio that exist purely to emulate Shinedown? my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Though they've recently made waves with 2009's Sing Along To Songs You Don't Know, the collective known as Mum have been plugging away for awhile now. Early Birds is a collection of tracks from 1998-2000 when they were still rooted in Iceland (they have since moved to Berlin). Culled from early demos and out-of-print vinyl, this gives fans a glimpse into their formative years, illustrating their penchant for primitive and experimental recording techniques.

“Bak Pitt Er Sem Rennibraut” starts the disc off, bringing a church choir feel to a very unpredictable and experimental song that erupts into electronic noises. “Gingurt” comes soon after, with use of accordions and a very mid '90s American indie rock feel. There's a lot of random noises scattered here, most it recorded onto a four-track. “Glerbrot” has much of these sounds to complement its already bizarre song structure. Early Birds ends with a 10 minute journey of odd soundscapes and random field recordings, a track that would later be reworked and put on their debut LP but is included here in its infancy stage.

This isn't music for those who like things straightforward. The arrangements never follow any predictable patterns and the gentle beats and playful electronica are far from the norm of current indie-tronica. Mum uses vocals sparingly these days, and here most songs are also sans singing; instead, they rely on an atypical use of electronica, minimal guitars, and plenty of creative assembling of unconventional sounds. Thankfully, this disc comes with a booklet explaining how each of these tracks came to life, which is necessary seeing as how listening to them – even for the most experienced music enthusiast – is likely to leave you perplexed as to just how these sounds were birthed.

Rating: B

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Morr Music, and is used for informational purposes only.