Múm’s Summer Make Good could be a companion piece to Nicolas Roeg’s 1973 psychic thriller Don’t Look Now, the story of a man haunted and driven to madness in the streets of Venice, Italy, by the specter of his recently drowned daughter. The album begins with the creepy, creaking “Hú Hviss - A Ship,” and images of water and death don’t end there, from “Oh, How The Boat Drifts” and “Small Deaths Are The Saddest” to the disc’s final ethereal track “Abandoned Ship Bells.” The evil red-hooded dwarf of Don’t Look Now is embodied here by Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, twin sister of Gyða, who left Múm in 2002 to study classical cello. Why anyone would let this woman near a microphone is beyond me, and ways of describing her singing voice (which is at first captivating, like a car-wreck or a public appearance by Courtney Love) are countless, a demented early-‘70s Olivia Newton-John strangling a fetus being the most evocative. The album’s sole success is “Weeping Rock, Rock,” the “la-la-la” melody of which conjures yet another classic horror film, Rosemary’s Baby. The introduction of numerous instruments, particularly live drums, signal promise for Múm’s more song-oriented aspirations, but many of the other tracks are more like digital fingerprints, a mixture of the electronic and organic, rather than actual songs. Summer Make Good embodies the worst, most eccentric aspects of Múm’s fellow Icelanders Sigur Rós and Björk without any of the poise or craft that makes those artists (or Múm’s previous incarnations) so engaging. This is music to kill babies to.
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