Twee brother-sister duo’s debut album twinkles with an innocent sweetness.
Adam Kennedy 2010-09-30
With the twee extremities of indie-rock virtually played out in boundary pushing terms – even forefathers Belle & Sebastian’s post-millennial output is increasingly backing that notion – where to go next isn’t an obvious avenue. Rural Herefordshire brother-and-sister Muchuu’s debut album contains several possible answers, twinkling with an innocent sweetness likely to prove as divisive as Hello Kitty.
The band’s moniker is, aptly, a Japanese dreamstate and the siblings go by requisitely cutesy names: when you’re called George and Milky, thundering death metal probably isn’t on the agenda. The title Adventure We Go resembles something The Secret Seven would unanimously declare aloud, too. But despite ticking certain expectedly twee boxes, Muchuu aren’t interested in merely rehashing the past. Instead, they gloss lo-fi instrumentation with lush production adroit enough to equal any luxurious pop you care to mention.
The opening title-track playfully experiments with Auto-Tune without entirely burying Milky’s pixyish tones, setting the mood for several subsequent tracks reappropriating the effect with new toy joyousness. Later in the album, that reliance threatens to grate somewhat. Before that point, however, Their World lays skittering Alice in Wonderland capers around instantly memorable choruses that would – in the nicest way – fly well at the Eurovision Song Contest. More often than not, that’s how agreeable Muchuu really are.
Echoes of kindred spirits – and clear influences – CocoRosie and Lykke Li are audible, as folk-grounded artists unafraid to explore/exploit basic electronic beats and found sounds. Adventure We Go does sometimes stray nearer the American chillwave movement’s output, albeit with quintessential Englishness sprinkled liberally like glittery fairy dust. Yet grandiose toybox dramas like The Place That Knows Me definitely imply that Muchuu’s scale lies well beyond any single niche scene.
The duo have already gleaned comparisons to The Ting Tings, parallels chiefly drawn because they visually evoke the That’s Not My Name hitmakers as raised by The Animals of Farthing Wood: elfin blond lass backed by everyday brunette lad. While their music bears scant similarity, though, it wouldn’t take a miracle for Muchuu to enjoy an equivalent out-of-nowhere rise to wider acknowledgment.