Record Review - 2 August 21 2002

More cunning horror filmmakers realize that the most palpable terror is created by the effective use of the mundane. The biggest scares in Kubrick’s The Shining derive from things that would be unremarkable in other movies: two little girls standing in a hotel hallway, a single phrase repeated on a sheet of typing paper.

In much the same way, Icelandic outfit Mum has created a mercilessly unsettling work using little more than keyboards and barely-there melodies. Credit most of this to the icy, ethereal vocals of twin sisters Kristin and Gyda Valtysdottir. Their ghostly moans wander listlessly around dour, grief-stricken synths. In any other context, their cooing might be considered innocuous and even saccharine. But amidst these funereal minor-key drones, they are downright sinister. The songs howl and groan as the sisters serenade blankly and incessantly. And like any good horror film, it’s impossible to look away. -- J. Edward Keyes