While we certainly haven't been starved of material from múm in the four years since their last studio album, the excellent Sing Along to Songs You Don't Know - an EP, a rarities compilation, and a collaboration with Kylie Minogue, of all people, have followed since then - as their first album in a while, it has a lot to live up to, especially due to the fact that founding member Gyða Valtýsdóttir has returned to the fold after 11 years.

Since the last album she contributed to - Finally We Are No-One - much has changed, and Smilewound finds the group working with a smaller palette than we've become used to. It's sparse and laid-back - its creators set out to challenge themselves and emerged triumphant. They must obviously have gotten into their zone quickly enough, as the new album - their sixth - finds them sounding even more confident than before.

The likes of 'Underwater Snow' and restless lead single 'Toothwheels' are the sort of unconventional pop songs that Iceland has gained a reputation for producing, but while accessibility is a key facet of Smilewound, it's more experimental than this might suggest. The elaborate melodies of 'Candlestick', for instance, were fleshed out on an acoustic guitar years ago, and have been twisted and shaped to fit the song's final form: a synth-pop track featuring energetic rhythms and an inspired chorus that's an ideal entry point into an album that possesses quite a singular sound; its marriage of glitchy beats and ambitious songwriting won't be for everyone, and this is particularly true of those who have grown accustomed to the lusher efforts of days gone by, but infectious and danceable songs like 'When Girls Collide' are irresistible.

Of course, this wouldn't be a múm album without at least one venture into more atmospheric terrain, and the delicately beautiful 'Eternity is the Wait Between Breaths' lies right at the heart of Smilewound. It's the most important track on the album, bridging the gap between the acoustic and electronic worlds perfectly with its marriage of burbling melodies and hushed pizzicato strings, paving the way for the up-tempo 'The Colourful Stabwound' which, along with featuring one of the best song titles I've seen this year, takes drum'n'bass rhythms and allows them to underpin the album's purest pop song: a meeting of styles which, under any other circumstances, wouldn't work.

This sort of musical invention has almost become second nature to múm at this stage, though, and by the time we get to the familiarity of 'Whistle' - the aforementioned Minogue collaboration - and it closes the album with a suitably dramatic flourish - everything has begun to make sense. This was never about múm's ability to try new things, which has already been proven many times; instead, the most significant thing we can take away from Smilewound is that the collective are still being themselves. Seen in the wider context of their career as a whole, the album may be viewed as an oddity, but a sparse approach works wonders; it'll be interesting to see where they go from here.