Múm Summer Make Good

Artists that favour a massive cinematic sound, seeking bold musical statements through languid instrumentation and spare vocals willingly walk the parlous line between epic and plain boring. And on Summer Make Good, Múm, a band entirely capable of awe-inspiring moments, may have dipped their toes too deeply into the boring end of the pool. Recorded in an Icelandic lighthouse, the album captures an isolation and stone-floor frigidity by creating, through organic instrumentation, gentle sounds of the sea and breezy coastal gales. But, largely, Múm have forgotten the importance of actual songs, which isn’t to say that the album is a complete loss. The gently rolling drums and swelling horns of "Nightly Cares” offer the prettiest, least frightening track on the album, coming closest to the material from the band’s breakthrough 2002 album, Finally We Are No One. And "The Island of Children’s Children” sounds starkly tropical compared to the rest of the album’s icy organics. Both of these tracks benefit from the insertion of subtle electronics, which aid in bracing Kristin Anna Valtysdotti’s tenuous vocals. Elsewhere, though, the live instrumentation does a poor job of this, making her sound closer to an asphyxiated four-year-old than a breezy apparition. Songs like "Small Deaths are the Saddest” and "Sing Me Out the Window” seem largely unrewarding, meandering in slight atmospherics that never really amount to much in the way of listenable material. (Beggars Banquet)