While many bands resort to playing dives, Icelandic popsters Múm take it one step further. On occasion, Múm holds listening shows in pools where fans hear the band through special underwater speakers. While the concept may be akin to whales communicating with one another in a vast ocean, the idea isn't too far-fetched for members of the band.

"I really do like water," says vocalist Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir. "When you put your head in the water you can hear the music. It doesn't take much."

It's no surprise then that the band's admiration for the ocean led them to record their two latest efforts in abandoned lighthouses. This year's Summer Make Good reflects the nautical environment, fusing hazy pop electronics with sounds of everything from creaking wood floors to rain trickles. Valtýsdóttir's childlike vocals inject a touch of innocence into a somber soundscape.

While tours across the States last year led to a growing indie fan base, Múm has been building a following overseas since its 2000 Yesterday Was Dramatic – Today Is OK debut. Guided by a mutual admiration for Aphex Twin, the band formed three years earlier, when Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Smárason teamed with Valtýsdóttir and her twin sister Gyda (who left to pursue further music education before this year's release). Whether releasing studio albums like 2002's Finally We Are No One or remixes such as Please Smile My Noise Bleed, Múm have toyed with nap-time electronica, though their recent release steers unexpectedly toward a darker corridor. But for a band who created an album in a lighthouse only accessible by boat, unusual journeys aren't that unusual.

Says Valtýsdóttir matter-of-factly, "I think the feeling where we recorded the albums shows in our music."

More by Omar Perez


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