Múm: Dusk Log
Fat Cat

When Icelandic trio Múm followed its superb Finally We Are No One with the less magical Summer Make Good, one wondered whether the absence of vocalist Gyda Valtýsdóttir had something to do with it, or maybe the change was attributable to the isolated lighthouse recording locations used for the later recording. Regardless, the joie de vivre that once complemented the group's melancholy side was missing, leaving a largely lugubrious feel in its wake; one therefore approaches the EP Dusk Log wondering if it might perpetuate the soggy sound of Summer Make Good. Repeated from the album is “Will The Summer Make Good For All Of Our Sins” which, while haunting, features a vocal by Kristin Anna Valtýsdóttir that's too cloyingly childlike, and the song's funereal tempo drags so much it almost drowns in its own melancholy. Much better is the upbeat instrumental “Kostrzyn” whose engaging sing-song melodies and robust mix of strings, melodica, and drums signals a welcome return to the group's earlier sound. Adequate though less striking are the others, the drifting, languorous “This Nothing In The Faraway” featuring Kristin's barely audible utterances underlaid by a dreamy organ motif and music box chimes, and “Boots Of Fog,” a meandering soundscape of percussive noises, mandolin plucks, and melodica glimmers. All told, a good but not great outing which will appeal to Múm completists even if it advances little upon the group's existing catalogue.

December 2004