There must be a name for the act of singing along to songs you don’t know. It’s the sort of silly thing that academics deem worthy of giving a name – the sort of thing they report on in the ‘And Finally…’ section on Sky News. Maybe if there isn’t a name for it we should give it one now. And maybe, if we’re to do that, we should call it ‘múmming’ in honour of the new album by Múm. If we do this, and get the new word onto Sky News, then Múm might just escape the inevitable fate of Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know – a fate defined by obscurity and forgetfulness.
It’d be sad if, three or fours years from now, nobody remembers Múm’s sixth album. It’d be sad not least because all things considered, it’s actually their best album to date. The music on offer here is gentle, the words softly spoken. There is a quiet yearning present at points, whilst maintaining a blissful naivety elsewhere.
It may take a few plays for the songs to begin to distinguish themselves as you attempt to recall them, but that’s the joy of the album – never once do you get the feeling that these tracks were ever anything less than part of a complete collection. There are, of course – as with any other album – standout tracks; though here the tracks do not stand out so much as sit up a little straighter than the others around them. ‘Húllabbalabbalúlú’ is one of these tracks – almost anthemic and charmingly childish, it provides a burst of hope and anticipation in the midst of an album that otherwise feels as if it doesn’t need hope – as if it is perfectly content as it is.
And this is why we need to create the word ‘múmming’ – because this is not an album that will fight for its place in your record collection; it’s too laid back to do that. This is, however, an album that deserves that place on your shelf. Let’s not let it be forgotten.
Words: Stephen Thomas