Being the subject of ‘next big thing’ hype is in many ways an enviable position to be in. The NME blows your trumpet, you produce the killer debut album everyone expects, world domination ensues. But it’s rarely that simple, is it?
Mumm-Ra featured in the annual ‘ones to watch’ lists that are as much a part of New Year as a crushing hangover, but instead of rushing things and going for broke, they’ve opted to keep their heads down and tour solidly.
Whether this was a wise decision, though, remains to be seen, as the superb recent single She’s Got You High failed to make the Top Forty (albeit by two sales, apparently). Sadly, with the explosion of bands like The View, it’s all about ‘shifting units’ (what a horrific phrase) nowadays. A good live reputation ain’t enough.
Whatever the future holds, though, one thing’s for certain: this band have a clutch of brilliant pop songs. These Things Move In Threes is a confident, mature and catchy record, that moves from sweeping ballads (Out Of The Question) to scratchy rockers (Song B) with ease. In March, singer James New told musicOMH of his belief in what he called a “very big record”, and his cocksure attitude seems justified.
While most young bands at the moment knock out identikit new wave riffs that sound like they were recorded in a pub toliet after 10 pints, Mumm-Ra are concerned with creating epic pop soundscapes. The Sick Deal utilises an orchestra that sounds like it’s just finished soundtracking the latest Hollywood blockbuster, and all the songs here sound like they were honed and crafted with the utmost care. It’s a refreshing approach, and, on the whole, one which pays off.
James told us that if in the studio they come up with “anything that sounds current or like anything around at the moment”, they “scrap it”. While the album is hardly a revolutionary masterpiece, it does sound joyfully unconcerned with passing fashions or fads, and consequently gives the band a sound all of their own.
On a couple of occasions, the ballads have a tendency to descend into blandness (Light Up This Room being the worst offender), but overall these weak moments are kept to a minimum. James New’s breathless enthusiasm backed by the band’s sweeping bombast is a winning combination, and sets Mumm-Ra apart as that rare beast: a group of lads truly worthy of the hype heaped upon them. World domination? Unlikely, but this cracking debut deserves to be heard by as many people as possible.