múm ‎– Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy

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I like múm a lot but their records aren’t readily available new and the used market it expensive. All I have is one album and a 12″ EP. Still, they are both good. Before we go any further, and just in case you have never heard them, here is a track from this album:

Ok, I accept this is not for everybody. The video has 3.8k likes and 1.1k dislikes on youtube, which is a pretty bad ratio for a music video, but it is all rather left field and, frankly, who cares, it isn’t as bad as this:

bieber

Completely irrelevant comparison, you’re welcome.

So, Múm are Icelandic, it’s pronounced Moom in case you wondered, and were formed in 1997 by Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, who were joined by twin sisters Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir. According to Kristín, the band’s name was not intended to mean anything. Gyða left the band to return to her studies after the release of Finally We Are No One. In early 2006, Kristín also left the band, although it was not officially announced until 23 November of that year. With only Tynes and Smárason remaining in the group, a large group of new musicians were brought on board: guitarist/vocalist/violinist Ólöf Arnalds, trumpet/keyboard player Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson, vocalist/cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, percussionist Samuli Kosminen, and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mr. Silla.  The new collective of musicians recorded their fourth album during 2006; This one, Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy which released on 24 September 2007. Yes, always up to date me, just 11 years since its release.

There is only one official video related to this album but a couple of people made their own, which are below for your listening and viewing pleasure.

One of múm’s principal attractions for me is their approach to orchestration. No instrument seems to be off the table, from a parping accordion, a soft piano, a razor sharp violin harmonic. These can all appear in the same track but despite the potential pitfall of unlistenable cacophony, there always seems to be room in the soundscape they are creating for what they include. It is not often that one can suggest that music ‘Sparkles’, but with múm is seems an appropriate description, particularly on this album as they take acoustic instruments and electronic and merge them seamlessly together as wood growing into metal and becoming indistinct from each other.

 

Inside the gatefold cover there is a little pouch in which a 7″ single has been slipped containing the tracks ‘Guilty Rocks’ and ‘Winter (What We Never Were After All)’ which are two tracks that ar eon the CD version, so I assume they didn’t want to stretch everything out over a double album and went for this method instead, it works, the 7″ feels like a bonus. 

Tracklist

LP-A1 Blessed Brambles
LP-A2 A Little Bit Sometimes
LP-A3 They Made Frogs Smoke ‘Til They Exploded
LP-A4 Those Eyes Are Berries
LP-B1 Moon Pulls
LP-B2 Marmelade Fires
LP-B3 Rhuubarbidoo
LP-B4 Dancing Behind My Eyelids
LP-B5 School Song Misfortune
LP-B6 I Was Her Horse
7″-C Guilty Rocks
7″-D Winter (What We Never Were After All)

Rating: 8.8

Dizzee Rascal -Maths + English

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As most people should realise by now, I am more than a little bit Gangsta. By this I mean if Gangsta means that I am a white middle aged man variously with or without a beard who can often be found on a street where there is a record shop. So I suspect not gangsta at all really, and not street either or any of the current tags that are applied, I am a bit grime though.

So this was Dizzee Rascal’s third album, released in 2007 and spawning three singles, the first of which was Sirens, above. I was in a used record shop above an antiques centre in Stratford Upon Avon and it was in the ‘reduced’ box (Same shop I bought ‘The Raconteurs’ album the other day). It seemed one not to leave there to me, so I didn’t. The album was one of the 12 nominees for the 2007 Mercury Prize, which ultimately went to Klaxons‘ album Myths of the Near Future, hmmmm, I’m tempted to……… yup, let’s do it, let’s look at those 12 nominees:

Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford – Basquiat Strings
Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold
Dizzee Rascal – Maths + English
Maps – We Can Create
New Young Pony Club – Fantastic Playroom
Fionn Regan – The End of History
Jamie T – Panic Prevention
The View – Hats Off to the Buskers
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Young Knives – Voices of Animals and Men

I’m not saying Dizzee  Rascal should have won, but including Maths + English I can see three albums that I think are better than the winner. Nothing against The Klaxons, it was just an odd choice of winner from my perspective.

So I will probably get a copy of the two albums before this now because I do rather like Dizzee, or Mr. Rascal as he insists I call him. He did something with Robbie Williams at some point, that worries me a bit as I’m not a fan of Williams, but I haven’t listened to that so won’t comment. Below is the third and final single from the album.

Tracklist

A1 World Outside
A2 Pussyole (Old Skool)
A3 Sirens
B1 Where’s Da G’s
B2 Paranoid
B3 Suk My Dick
B4 Flex
C1 Da Feelin’
C2 Bubbles
C3 Excuse Me Please
D1 Hardback (Industry)
D2 Temptation
D3 Wanna Be
D4 U Can’t Tell Me Nuffin’

Rating: 8.6