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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

múm -- Finally We Are No One

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What múm looked like at this point:
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When a band makes a masterpiece on their first try, there's usually no place to go but down. Take Interpol for example. Turn On the Bright Lights is arguably the best album of the 21st century. In the thirteen years since, over the course of four subsequent full-lengths, Interpol have struggled just to make a good album. Even a band like Jars of Clay, who have released a constant stream of critically heralded albums over the last decade of their 20 year career, used up most of their first decade getting comfortable in their own skin again after their landmark debut. Múm have gone through no such struggles. Perhaps because their debut ran more under the radar, or perhaps because the band was birthed in a sea of restless creativity, múm have constantly evolved and changed in sound, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. Finally We Are No One, their second full-length album is a good and logical change.
Múm's debut, Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is Okay, combined electronics with a small parceling of organic instruments to create a nostalgic landscape of childhood sounds. Finally We Are No One matures that sound a bit, adding more dreamy female vocals to the mix and thicker beats, sounding wetter and earthier. Multiple songs mention water, and two have "Swimmingpool" in the title. While Yesterday Was Dramatic... contained a bit of melancholy in its third-quarter, Finally We Are No One is awash in it. It's almost like the transition to being a teenager...all of a sudden you're sad all the time. That's not to say Finally We Are No One is sad all the time, but a melancholic specter certainly hangs over the second and third tracks, as well as the sixth and seventh...or does it?
I bought this album in early 2004, during a time I was depressed about blowing a romantic opportunity with some girl that would have likely been terrible for me. Also, the girl I really liked now had a boyfriend. One night, I went bowling with a very good buddy of mine, and threw on Finally We Are No One on the drive back to his house. When "Green Grass of Tunnel" came about, I told him, "Man, this song is so sad."

"No, it's not." he said.
"What do you mean? It's so depressing!"
"No, it's not. It's actually kind of happy. It's definitely not depressing."
So maybe it's not depressing. Whatever it is, though. It's complicated...uh, like teenage emotions. I don't want to give the impression that Finally We Are No One is bi-polar or immature, though, because it is neither of those things. It's consistent and it's perfect. It's like staring out the window at a rainy landscape with your chin resting in your hand, and enjoying the experience. It's like, when something is really awesome and transcendent and all of your attempts to describe it suck.

2002 FatCat Records
1. Sleep/Swim 0:50
2. Green Grass of Tunnel 4:51
3. We Have a Map of the Piano 5:19
4. Don't Be Afraid, You Have Just Got Your Eyes Closed 5:43
5. Behind Two Hills,,,,a Swimmingpool 1:08
6. K/Half Noise 8:41
7. Now There's That Fear Again 3:56
8. Faraway Swimmingpool 2:55
9. I Can't Feel My Hand Any More, It's Alright, Sleep Still 5:40
10. Finally We Are No One 5:07
11. The Land Between Solar Systems 11:58

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