Ra – These Things Move In Threes – Mumm

Label: Columbia

There is an awful lot to dislike about Mumm-Ra, which we may as well be upfront about, clear the air. For a start, there’s the name, presumably a misguided stab at knowing retro kitsch, but coming off like the cheap novelty plastic figure with teeth-marks in that no-one plays with any more because it was and is just a bit rubbish. And they hardly convince in the evil nemesis role either, far too fresh-faced. Have they even had chance to cut themselves shaving? There’s the album name too, which is all a little “what’s that coming over the hill..”, and while on one hand you probably can’t blame them for wanting to hitch a ride on that particular popularity express it further makes you wonder what kind of impression they’re trying to create for themselves and if they’ve given more than 2 minutes thought to anything. Then there’s the annoyingly character-androgynous scratch-free non-accent that singer James New employs, sitting somewhere between Hard-Fi’s Richard Archer and Matt ‘Busted’ Willis, bobbing around unspecifically on top of the music, save for a tiny speckle of mockney. If it were a colour you wouldn’t be able to see it.

Then the music, lining up in rigid 4/4 formation, melted down, poured into moulds and served lukewarm. Looks like Feeder have a playmate. But then there is an underlying quality to the album that gives us pause for thought, and holds us back from a complete mauling. There is a desire for, we think, adventure and amassed melodic crescendo, even if that is somewhat presumed rather than acted out. This is breezy indie music the reminds us of chirpy Britpop also-rans Octopus or The Supernaturals, with perhaps a touch of Doves’ grandeur and Travis’ twinkly prettiness – and the likes of ‘Light Up This Room’ and ‘She’s Got You High’ are nothing if not pretty. It’s harmless. It’s nice. It wears specs, so don’t take a swing at it. ‘Song B’ is a none too subtle Blur reference, from whom they also take a good deal of influence, and includes (obviously) one of a few occasional teaspoons of aggression, aiming for membership on The Automatic bandwagon presumably. They’re a bit plastic-indie-tombola in that respect, unfortunately coming out about as low budget much of the time.

Release: Mumm-Ra - These Things Move In Threes
Review by:
Released: 22 May 2007