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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
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The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
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Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know

Rating: 7.5/10 ?

September 29, 2009
Although Múm has a relatively strong electronic history, their latest effort is quite a departure. They have evolved into more of a straight experimental group, appearing to be in a perpetual dreamstate when recording. They still display electronic elements throughout some of their songs ("Sing Along," "The Smell of Today is Sweet Like Breastmilk in the Wind"), but these sounds are not as prevalent as on early discs, and now only tend to compliment the strings and bevy of other folksy instruments that have come to the forefront.

Less is more at times on this outing, as the band tightens to incorporate only the raw, essential instruments or beats, hoping that beauty resides in simplicity. In fact, this is evidenced from the opening track "If I Were a Fish," mostly composed of recitations over the plucking of a violin. But the deconstruction on Sing Along works, and without the programmed decora the group's music appears more approachable . "Prophesies and Reversed Memories" displays classic Múm characteristics: layered vocal harmonies, interspersed xylophone, swift guitar strumming, and a number of other intriguing wacky sounds. These first two songs certainly set a playful and charming tone for what's to come, like the quixotic, finger-tapping ditty "Hullaballabalú," where the band tries their utmost to achieve some sort of tribal feel.

The biggest surprise here though, is "Blow Your Nose." I'm not being funny when I say the most romantic track on the album ends repeating the line "blow your nose right on my sleeve" as a strange allegory for the forlorn parting of two lovers. The duet chorus is sublime, as both hit every note to perfection. The accompanying strings and xylophone compliment the tracks alluring qualities, sending the message that besides melancholy, there's comfort in loss as well.

While Sing Along is certainly a valuable advancement for Múm's catalog, the playful dream-folk it comprises simply doesn't peak like some of its predecessors. That said, the album is at many times more open and engaging than some of those earlier gems and has a lighthearted nature that retains the balance of sating old fans and sparking new ones, which is nearly analogous to this couplet from the title tune: "If I were a bumblebee and you were a puddle, would I drown in you anyway?"

Reviewed by Brian Christopher Jones
A student living in Scotland and working toward a PhD in law.

See other reviews by Brian Christopher Jones



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