By: Evan Sherman
Mumrunner | bandcamp |
Full Blossom, the recent EP from Finnish shoegaze band Mumrunner, leads with their best offering, ‘End’. It is a perfect encompassment of the middle ground found in modern day shoegaze, not heavy enough to be picked up on metal music’s radar but heavy enough that it separates itself from the lilting, hyper-emotional sounding area of modern indie shoegaze. It plants itself, at the onset, firmly in the same field as Nothing, or Belong era The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and they do it with ease. Both ‘End’ and second track ‘Bond’ are incredibly catchy, energetic, and provide the right amount of haze to fog the tracks in a mysteriousness that few bands can pull off.
‘Passenger’ slows things down for a good three minutes only to ramp back up towards the end. It stands as a turning point on the EP, not only being the middle of the album but providing a transition into less affecting songs. ‘Passenger’ itself is not a bad song, but it does not have the same immediacy that can be attributed to the first two tracks. ‘Gun’ while providing some of the best reverb drenched guitar effects this year, also provides some of the worst lyrical decisions on the album. There is something about counting up, or down, towards some child-like nursery rhyme scheme that does not sit well with me, especially when placed in a chorus and issued repetitions. I understand, shoegaze vocals are wispy and fragile, the songs promote a feeling of innocence, loss, nostalgia, emptiness, or hazy dreamlike states, but the addition of lyrics that bring all of these characteristics to the forefront flies in the face of what shoegaze should really be about, ambiguity and mystery.
The title track, ‘Full Blossom’, closes the album and leaves the listener where they started, with a feeling of promise and intrigue about the band. The song, while not as catchy or immediately gratifying as some of the others, carries with it the familiarly immense wall of reverb that really makes this album enjoyable. They have collected a majority of great songs, with some hampered by missteps, but the album as a whole is a success. In the advent of metal bands, like Alcest, becoming more neutralized and passive than aggressive, as well as indie shoegaze bands, like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, falling further into areas that can’t even be labeled shoegaze, I am always gladdened to find a band, like Mumrunner, who embraces the gritty, raw, wall crumbling, and all around noisy nature that makes great shoegaze great. There is still hope for the genre with bands like Nothing, An Autumn for Crippled Children, and now, Mumrunner.