Mum are two men and two women (twins, actually) from Iceland who seem out to prove that not every musician in their country is somewhat insane. Perfectly ordinary (or so they'd like us to believe), mum makes perfectly... well, perfect songs constructed from electronic melodies and rhythms: think Looper as played by Aphex Twin, or the Close Encounters theme music as re-imagined by Neutral Milk Hotel. Yesterday was Dramatic--Today is OK is 15-songs-strong of music of indescribable wonder; while other artists plum the depths of love, mum somehow put together "I'm 9 Today", with all of the joy and curiosity, simplicity and burgeoning complexity that the subject demands. The companion pieces "Asleep on a Train" and "Awake on a Train" are triumphantly recognisable as such, and "Slow Bicycle" is the musical equivalent of American Beauty's shopping bag blowing in the wind. Though they might protest at the compliment, mum are very special indeed: that rare group possessed of the ability to find perfect beauty in the mundane--and to reveal it to the rest of us. -Randy Silver
Review by Tim DiGravina
Iceland's Mum proves to be as successful at creating emotional ambient electronic music as they are at posing for album covers (the twin sisters in the band appeared on the sleeve of Belle & Sebastian's Fold Your Hands Child, You Walk Like a Peasant). Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK blends equal parts early Aphex Twin atmosphere, glitchy clicks reminiscent of Autechre, and dramatic musical elements that evoke the sorrow and glory of compatriot's Sigur Ros. Mum allow their songs to stretch out into lush, lengthy arrangements as a synthetic accordion mingles with rolling beats, icy analog effects, beeping instruments that recall some fantastic Disney ride, and the occasional female voice humming or singing quietly. Melodicas, glockenspiels, and other exotic instruments spur recurring motifs of sadness and joy. When the album isn't operating as a perfect postmodern lullaby, Mum is at work crafting memorable melodies. "Awake on a Train" is typical of the startling beauty the band achieves throughout the album, as tinkering keyboards and a lone voice work as aural tearjerkers. "The Ballad of the Broken Birdie Records" suggests what the pairing of Cocteau Twins and Mike Paradinas might have sounded like, as throbbing, hazy electronics lean against haunting vocals. "Sunday Night Just Keeps on Rolling" brings to mind tiny ships sounding off to each other across a sea of flowing lava. Though the album is modern in its inception, the music is effortlessly timeless and thoroughly engrossing. Yesterday Was Dramatic -- Today Is OK is an unmitigated, accessible masterpiece.