Mus – Divinia Lluz

Mus
Divinia Lluz

We indie rockers try to welcome diversity, especially international diversity. Anything that comes from somewhere overseas almost automatically possesses some of the very things we look for in music in the first place: exoticism and obscurity. We even embrace shit we don’t understand, allowing a relatively popular group like Sigur Ros to not only not sing the primary language of most indie-rock fans (English), but to make up their own fucking dialect mostly from scratch (and elongated vowels). In fact, not liking something due to something as peripheral as language could easily be construed as narrow-minded and unadventurous, two things we stringently avoid. God forbid letting something as meaningless as language get in the way.

Well, to hell with it all: I’m letting language get in the way. Yep, you read that right: I’m enjoying the foreign sounds of Mus’s Divinia Lluz less, simply because their vocals are sung in – gasp! – another language. Mus is a Spanish duo consisting of Fran Gayo and Monica Vacas, and not only do they not sing in English, they apparently sing in Asturian, a specified, alien language from a very specific part of Spain. Now, to the band’s credit, they seem to have predicted my narrow-mindedness, as all of the lyrics to Divinia Lluz are printed in no less than three different languages, one of those being English.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with singing in another language, and most of the time I’d have no problem with this sort of aesthetic decision. In fact, I still don’t, other than to say that it’s somehow unusually difficult for me to absorb this music without language. It shouldn’t be: Mus’s folky, ethereal arrangements are augmented by the vox in an almost purely instrumental manner, focusing more on the soft whisper than whatever the hell the soft whisper is saying.

Given, however, the sparseness of the music, the unvaried tempo (slow), and the fact that the songs lack noticeable textural differences all contribute to the language barrier playing a bigger role than it normally would. Perhaps if I could decipher the lyrics the title track, it’s gentle, loping keyboards would sound prettier than they already do. Perhaps the melody of leadoff track “Escuela Cruda” would stick in my head for longer than 30 seconds. The gorgeous organs of “La Vuelta” would sound even sadder. Lines like “Let me by, for I am going / I want to go down into the mine / I have a brother buried there / And I want to save his life” would sting with the appropriate amount of sting and fire.

Instead, this all sounds vaguely similar: Organic, airy, and gentle. In fact, Mus doesn’t even come close to deserving this mostly negative review: Divinia Lluz contains thoughtful arrangements, sloth-like, sickly-sweet little melodies, and just enough character and charm to complement Mus’s obvious talent. I’m not asking Mus, or any other band, to sing for me, but I can’t honestly say that I wouldn’t enjoy this more in another language. Divinia Lluz still sounds like a fully-formed, gorgeous piece of music, doing so, for this reviewer, in spite of its native tongue.