Mus El Naval

Mus - the Spanish duo of Fran Gayo and Monica Vacas - would seem initially to fall into the gooey pit of quicksand with other "slow-core" groups like Low, whose somnambulant pace seems to serve nothing more than listening to the first minute-and-a-half before you fall completely asleep. But while El Naval is indeed musical sleepy-time, it's got a sophistication that's completely different from the snail-paced norm. Sung in Asturian, a dialect of Northwestern Spain, Mus delicately tiptoes the cinematic realm, making it seem more like the soundtrack to an art film - and a scene in a mysterious café - than the stuff of dingy rock clubs. The lyrics would probably be incomprehensible in English too, but their unfamiliarity makes you perk up your ears; this is a beautiful, familiar and unsettling record, like seeing your best friend as a doppelganger on the other side of the world. (Darla)