Once the Garden Hall lights are dimmed, band members filter onto the stage one by one, picking up their respective instruments and contributing to the epic buildup of their intro track “The Land Between Solar Systems,” the entirety for which the drummer plays standing. After playing guitar for the first track, vocalist Gyda Valtysdottir switches to electric cello, using effects pedals to create unique screeches and wails with her bow, perfectly accompanied by her whispery dream-pop vocals. Her delicate voice is carried out over Yebisu Garden Hall’s sound system, and the deep electro bass is felt deep in the chests of patrons.
About to begin their next track, leading member Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason introduces the song as “a ballad. It’s a country song about death, suitable for French kissing.” The guy certainly has a sense of humour, and surprises the Japanese audience throughout the show with little gems like “Konbanwa! Boku-wa Mumu desu. Arigatou gozaimasu!” (= Good evening, we are Múm. Thank you very much) and then later, much to the amusement of the crowd “Sou desu ne. Ee-to…. ano… Ii tenki desu ne!” (= So, yeah… Umm, uhhh… Nice weather, right?”)
After forming in 2007, the group has undergone several lineup changes, touring extensively around the world and taking part in a vast assortment of musical projects, making a highly respected name for themselves in the industry. Interestingly, they’ve recently collaborated with Kyle Minogue creating a track called “Whistle,” which was written for the indie film “Jack and Diane” and is available online at the moment. Each band member in Múm is multifaceted in their musical abilities, with everyone switching up instruments throughout the set, making for an engaging performance and showing off the group’s musical integrity. When she isn’t playing a ukulele, melodika or guitar, female vocalist Sigurlaug Gísladóttir is dancing around in apparent ecstasy, eyes closed, arms raised above her head.
Despite what was obviously a dedicated audience of fans (there were cheers of recognition at the announcement of almost every song), you’d be forgiven for thinking the crowd is not that enthused, particularly after witnessing the energetic response given to previous act Team Me. Keep in mind though that even though many songs are laid on a foundation of super-bassy glitch tracks, the mega-chilled xylophone/cello/synths combo acts as the negator and brings it back down a level, to a comfortable yet invigorating stupor similar to that induced by seeing Sigur Ros live. It’s sort of a quiet reverence, an appreciation of beautiful and complex music.
The crowd show their gratitude when they are treated to the first ever live performance of new song “Toothwheels,” to which they respond positively. The only band of the day to afford their fans an encore, Múm close their set with “The Island Of Children’s Children.” The two guitarists end this epic track – and effectively the event for the night – by crossing the fret boards of their guitars in the shape of an X to strike the final note of the song, to the uproarious applause of an ecstatic audience.
Múm are currently touring, set to play Singapore, Iceland, the UK and Germany in the next few months.