Label: Morr Music Release date: 24/08/09 (00/00/00) Ever since their second album, ‘Finally We Are No One’, Múm have been gradually moving away from the ‘straightforward’ - but beautiful - electronica of their debut release. The record saw the introduction of vocals and a far more prominent role assigned to a host of instruments in the band’s sound. As the group’s career has progressed this role has only increased in importance as the song ‘Marmalade Fires’ on their last album demonstrates. It is on their newest release, ‘Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know’, that Múm have shown how far they have come from their origins; so much so that it is virtually impossible to connect this new offering with the band’s first back in 2000. The electronic scratches, beeps, blips, clicks and ambient noises which were Múm’s enchanting forte have been almost entirely drowned out by the sounds of voices, cellos, guitars, drums, pianos and a number of other instruments. The result is a collection of songs more akin to something that fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós might produce, though – regrettably – they are much less satisfying. The first track, ‘If I Were a Fish’, provides a gentle, twinkling opening which appears to hold a lot of promise for the rest of the album. This is followed by ‘Sing Along’, a fun, multi-layered tune that, with a pounding beat and lines like ‘You are so beautiful to us, we want to lock you in our house’, is both exciting and oddly charming. Sadly, this is where the album peaks as from here on in it becomes a blur of strings, plinking plonking things and choral arrangements. These are all certainly very nice, and there are a number of sweet touches, but the problem is that the material never really becomes arresting or memorable. There is no conclusion, no release to cut off the languid flow of repetition that seems to form the basis of the album and so these last ten songs become fairly interchangeable. This problem is heightened by the chorus of voices, which in being similarly arranged on each track provides a blanket of sound that swallows any defining moments. ‘Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know’, though pretty in parts, is mostly background music. My hope is that it is not the endpoint of Múm’s musical journey but merely a clumsy step on unsure footing whilst the talented group try to get to grips with their new, instrument focussed sound. Rating: 6/10