CAT PEOPLE 


It’s possible that no other indie band in Orlando packs as much potential as Mumpsy. Named after a cat in a children’s book, they’re the union of industriousness and talent, a recipe that’s recently been paying off. In the last year, they were a category winner in Sufjan Stevens’ international Christmas song contest, played a film festival in Las Vegas and appeared nationally on CBS.

On their home field, the ascendant Mumpsy has become a flagship act for Post Records. The illustrious Orlando-based label has become one of the most active and influential forces in Central Florida’s indie scene, and enthusiastic musical savant and infinitely boyish Mumpsy frontman Jeff Ilgenfritz is the Post family’s most incandescent character.

Simply put, Mumpsy’s music is joy, and their new album, Cat & Canary, is an accomplished affirmation that their kind of pop music is about liberating the listener’s soul in under three and a half minutes. Although the lyrics are emotionally probing, the sunny, economic melodies beam with unflagging optimism.

Mumpsy’s jangly, British Invasion–inspired folk-pop is immediate but not exactly conventional. Everything bops with an eccentric sort of sweetness, like indie-kid interpretations of golden oldies. Their unbridled sense of whimsy is lushly manifested here in their broadest instrumental palette yet. Alongside folk elements like acoustic guitar, banjo and harmonica are the orchestral filigree of horns, piano, violin and glockenspiel. Even the ukulele and melodica find their way in. It’s a gesture that tears down the walls of genre.

Ilgenfritz admits to keeping the doors of stylistic possibility wide open for Mumpsy. “We’re ultimately in it for the greatest song,” he says. “What’s the greatest song that can happen?” Where that inspiration comes from isn’t a consideration, something the band has demonstrated before with their amusing (very white) cover version of rapper Murphy Lee’s “Wat Da Hook Gon B” and with their 13-song Misfits cover album.

Cat & Canary is full of inspired moments. Romantic ’60s pop mingles with doo-wop undercurrents in “As a Matter of Fact.” The high-spirited “A Question Mark (In the Air Above My Head)” is a bobbing anthem in the early Beatles tradition, and the strumming, brisk “In Favor of a Ghost” sports a driving determination that’s broken only by a triumphant chorus.

Cat & Canary embodies greater maturity and craftsmanship without compromising the celebratory radiance that’s so intrinsically Mumpsy. Most importantly, it finally brings legitimacy to the term “Orlando pop.”

music@orlandoweekly.com

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