Mus Fai

A re-issue of the Mus’s debut full-length, original released on the small Spanish label Acualrela in ’99, Fai is the best of the group’s short-lived flirtation with trip-hop/post-rock elements. A combination of epic orchestrations and brief mood pieces, the record brings to mind artists like Hope Sandoval, Portishead, Stereolab, the Rachel’s and even at times, like on the standout "Cande,” an interesting mixture between John Barry and Bernard Hermann’s classic film scores. With their debut, Mus delved far more into atmosphere and the treatment of production space than their subsequent albums, which have developed into more of a traditional setup, doing very little to actually grab the listener’s attention. Nearly every track here is melodically faint, relying almost completely on its stark ambience to hold our attention, and when they manage to not get carried away like with the eight-and-a-half-minute closer "Sebastian,” it can be quite effective. All told, this is a welcome re-release, one that will hopefully remind Mus that they can accomplish more than the underwhelming fey pop they’ve been releasing since. (Darla)