These kids hail from Bexhill-on-Sea in East Sussex. Essentially part of Hastings on the south coast of the UK, it is probably the last place on earth where you’d expect one of the hottest bands in the country to emerge from. Predominately a retiree’s paradise, there is little which is cool or trendy about Bexhill-on-Sea. And yes, that includes the De La Warr Pavilion. In fact there are few bands that hail from this neck of the woods. Merseyside this is not.
But perhaps it is the fact that there have been few bands before them which allows for Mumm-Ra’s music to be so frightfully English, modern, poppy, rocky, dancy and so god-damn original. Identikit indie rock this is not. What they have managed to create is an album of infectiously catchy songs which draw from many elements of the indie-rock cannon and created something truly original.
Romance seems to be the resurgent theme in these songs. I get the feeling that the boys are hopeless romantics. Even the more rock ‘n roll songs about one-night stands and shagging girls have this beautiful romantic element associated to them. This is one record that will appeal to the more idealistic teenagers, yet wussy ‘Lady in Red’ style songs these are not. Brilliantly danceable indie pop-rock they are.
First single, ‘She Got You High’ is all about those wonderful feelings you get when you first fall in love with someone; The happy spring in your footstep, the lovely outlook on life that this brings. All those unexplainable emotions that run through your mind and soul. With a most definite “tune of the summer” element to the song, all we need now is for the summer to well and truly arrive. In fact, as I write this review, the sun has indeed come out for the first time in about a week. As well as writing a good pop/rock tune, these boys seem to have divine powers.
Opening Track ‘Now or Never’ has the boys start off with solo acoustic guitar riffs before descending into electric guitar territory with an undeniable Arcade Fire or Hope of the States element. ‘Starlight’ is a more traditional rock song which is very radio friendly. ‘The Sick Deal’ draws inspiration from Editors, while final track ‘Down Down Dow’n’ returns to the Hope of the States for inspiration with a crashing and monumental instrumental jam.
‘What Would Steve Do?’, as well as having a great title, has possibly the most catchy chorus of all time consisting of lead singer shouting at the top of his voice. This is a live favourite, at least it was when I caught them at the Great Escape Festival in Brighton earlier in the year. Another track which has radio airplay stamped all over it.
Mumm-Ra have delivered an album which will no doubt be hated by the ever-so-trendy website Drowned in Sound. Far too popular, far too mainstream. The fact that this may appear on BBC Radio 2 is irrelevant, as far as I am concerned. This is one heck of a debut for a band who make original rock tunes that girls and boys can dance to and be inspired by.