Thursday, November 8, 2007

Mum – Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy

I’ll apologize ahead of time for the gratuitous use of acronyms.

It’s taken a solid month or two, but Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy has finally nestled itself into a cozy place in my heart. I’m not sure why it took so long. In fact, I wanted to like this album long before it was ever recorded.

A little self disclosure: my only previous experience with Mum is their 2002 release Finally We Are No One. And my take on that album is that there are two songs that make the whole thing worth having: Green Grass Of Tunnel and We Have A Map Of The Piano. Experimental glitch pop is the best way to describe FWANO. And although Kristin Valtysdottir’s childlike, delicate croon makes the album better suited for closet listens - “er… no I wasn’t listening to that, I was trying play, um… Rancid. Yeah, Rancid. And then I was going to, uh, get a tattoo. On my balls.” - those two songs will live long on my future playlists and rank well into the double digits of my all-time favorites.

I think the reason why Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy took me so long to accept is that it is so different from what I was expecting (granted, I missed a couple releases between FWANO and GGSTPI). The glitchiness is still there to an extent, although it is much less pronounced and is more of a fucked-up start-stop percussion section rather than the pops-and-clicks from FWANO.

The most notable difference, which is likely a result of the radical change in members since the 2002 setup, is that Mum sounds more like a band now, as opposed to an experimental, synth driven outfit. Where the music once felt cold and sterile, there is now warmth and fluidity with brassy instrumentation at times not so dissimilar to Broken Social Scene.

And while I don’t foresee any of the songs on GGSTPI making it onto my all-time list, the album, as a whole, turns out to be far superior to FWANO.

I'm recommending both albums so here is a sample of each:

Finally We Are No One:
Mum – Green Grass Of Tunnel
Mum – We Have A Map Of The Piano

Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy:
Mum – Blessed Brambles
Mum – Guilty Rocks

Also check out this killer performance of We Have A Map Of The Piano:

"I'll close my eyes and bite your tongue."

Available at and

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