Here at the Send Me Your Ears studio today, we’ve been listening to the latest single from UK-based artist, mUmbo. Sky Is Blue was released on February 17th, 2023, and comes hot on the heels of previous singles, Don’t Even Mind The Rain and Rollin Over – both tracks we’ve reviewed recently.
Sky is Blue is a song about the human condition and the wider world; a desire to escape what holds us back and to reach for a blue sky with brand new starts and perspectives.
The cool effect on the opening guitar strum is enough to grab your attention before leading into a more distant guitar track with the beautiful relaxed and smiling vocals that we’ve come to expect of mUmbo. Lead vocals, provided by Emma Semple, have superb diversity in them. Emma has effortless head voice control and there’s a Karen Carpenter feel to her voice that just oozes positivity. There is some lovely use of “creak” technique in places in the vocals.
The hi-hat and gentle guitar continue, together with just the occasional harmony vocal line, and the song builds with extra drums and swirling guitars. The stereo and panning in the drums is a real joy to listen to, and we can imagine this working well as a ‘study vibes’ headphones track.
We loved the wah effect guitar solo. It served to make the song even more chilled out, and almost felt like the song was being played underwater. Several moments in this track reminded us of Portishead.
The single chord throughout makes this a track which, aside from the occasional drum fill, leaves you to drift on into your own little world. and contemplate the Human Condition. The song is a superbly dense wall of sound to delight the senses.
Ideas from our ears
A boost around 125Hz would add some warmth and bring out a little extra fullness in the low end. A couple of cuts in the 180-240Hz range and again in the 450-750Hz range would reduce some peaking ‘muddy’ and ‘honky’ tones, respectively. A small high shelf boost in the top 2 octaves for extra brightness and presence and finally a light compressor/limiter with maybe as much as 5-6dB of make-up gain for a last touch of fullness and added volume. As always, these are just some ideas from our ears.
mUmbo are making a name for themselves for their relaxing, shoegaze and chilled-out music. We don’t doubt that we’ll be hearing one of their songs in a soundtrack to a movie or the background of a TV show before too much longer. Great stuff!