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Summer Make Good

Múm
Summer Make Good
(Fat Cat)

It's indeed true that despite the title looking to warm seasons, Summer Make Good is easily the darkest-sounding album that Múm have released to date. It's also true that there is more singing on this release (despite losing one vocalist) than on any other previous one to date, and it's that slight change in direction that has caused a great deal of division in terms of those who have heard it. Musically, the album takes small leaps beyond their last disc Finally We Are No One in incorporating organic instrumentation into their sound.

After a short opening track of sound samples, the release starts in earnest with the long-building "Weeping Rock, Rock." Opening with a whimper and building to a louder finale with excellent, layered programming and mournful horns and accordion. Singer Kristin Anna Valtısdótti adds soft vocals, and they're so precious and fragile that at times they sound very nearly like they're being sung by an animated character from a children's television show. "Nightly Cares" follows with a lullaby of a track, floating gorgeous layers of electronics alongside acoustic guitars and horns while programmed beats provide an occasional punch while vocals again add an unsteady feel to things.

Although there are again some amazing sonics (the group is still one of the best out there in terms of combining electronic and organic sounds), one of my biggest problems is actually with the progression of a majority of the tracks. Much of the first half of the album is made up of tracks that start out with nothing more than a lovely melody, but then build up throughout the course of the track for a hyper-programmed ending. Their are some decent dynamics located within, but the small crescendo over and over leads to a rather repetitive feel. There are places where the album breaks from that progression (like on the mid-tempo, back and forth sway of "The Island Of Children's Children"), and it really helps to keep things interesting.

While I can appreciate the changes that the group is going through to keep things interesting, Summer Make Good doesn't have nearly the amount of great melodies that either of the last two full-lengths by the group have contained. In moving into slightly darker realms, the group have shuffled off some of what has made them one of the more interesting bands out there the past couple years by focusing more on atmosphere than melody. Their production is still top-notch, and as mentioned above the album still has some great sounds and moments, but it's not quite up to the level that they've done in the past. Fans of the group will still want to hunt it down, but those looking for a starting point with the group might want to check out Finally We Are No One or their difficult-to-locate debut Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today Is OK.

Rating: 6.5

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