Blame it on the cold or midnight sun or essentially being adrift in the North Atlantic or whatever, Iceland keeps producing bands that revel in their frigid quirkiness and uniquely untethered pop aesthetics to create remarkable music, whether it's dubbed experimental, avant-garde pop, post-rock, or pre-22nd century. Case in point: this pair of Icelandic bands hip enough to qualify for the Walker's cachet. Múm (pronounced "moom" and variously written with or without a capital m) is a dozen-year-old collective that expands and contracts around founders Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason. Currently operating as a seven-piece, múm has a new album, Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know, that's a gossamer wonderland of eccentric chamber pop, integrating electronica cries and whispers with a strong organic element juggling guitars, cello, ukuleles, and idiosyncratic percussion devices. Múm's sound ebbs and flows via swells variously characterized by folky choral washes, psychedelic sighs, bubbling rhythms, wispy melodies, jewel-like apparitions of rock and folk textures, and surrealistic lyrics. Opener Sin Fang Bous is the brainchild of Sindri Már Sigfússon, who also leads the Reykjavik folk-pop outfit Seabear. Clangour, SFB's debut, also ventures into a curiously textured, atmospheric realm of spacey folk, pop, and rock. But the last two elements are a bit more prominent, the rhythms more insistent than múm's amid clear references to vintage remnants of the Beach Boys and even subdued Phil Spector.
Thu., Oct. 29, 8 p.m., 2009
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