Mus: La Vida
Green UFOs

La Vida, the new (and maybe last) album by Mus (Mónica Vacas and Fran Gayo), is obviously unusual for being sung entirely in Asturian, a Romantic language as old as Spanish that's now in danger of disappearing. But the particular language Vacas sings in is almost incidental compared to the group's lush songcraft. Dreamy folk lullabies (“Per Tierres Baxes”) and gleaming pop songs (“Cantares De Ciegu”) are the group's forte, with both strengthened by Gayo's acoustic and electric guitar playing and Vacas's crystal clear vocalizing. The hazy production style, relaxed tempo, and Vacas's Hope Sandoval-styled vocal in “Una Ventana Con Lluz” make Mus resemble an Asturian version of Mazzy Star. Enhancing the material's allure, the duo nicely fleshes out its generally melancholy sound with strings (“Que Me Oscurece”) and melodica (“La Vida,” “Les Palinadores”). Though overlong at fifty minutes (“Perdieron Y La Tierra,” for instance, could have been excluded at no great loss), La Vida largely entrances, especially with the inclusion of vocally rich and breezily wistful folk-pop jewels like “Animas Del Purgatoriu,” “Una Sábana Al Vientu,” and “Una Estacion Xelada.”

June 2007