Mumbo – “Red Balloons”


Intriguing with a dreamy mystique, “Red Balloons” is a recent single from Mumbo, the London-based project of guitarist Doug MacGowan, vocalist Emma Semple, and drummer Antonio Dale. Jangly guitars and lushly caressing vocal layers intertwine for a melodic, ghostly intrigue, set alongside lyrics presenting themes of perseverance, particularly when confronted by discouragement and struggle.

Semple’s understated vocals are bolstered by a haunting wordless backing upon the impactful emergence of “I’m remembering red balloons flying in the afternoons.” The imagery is suggestive of an optimism looking forward, noting how they carve “through the black and white.” Steady percussion and frolicking guitars lend a hypnotic engrossment throughout, with string-laden theatrics emerging during the darkly invigorating conclusion. “Red Balloons” is a stellar piece of songwriting with lingering appeal from Mumbo.

The track also releases alongside a video, from filmmaker Kelli Watson, taking inspiration from Maya Deren’s 1940’s film Meshes of the Afternoon in its cathartic yearning for release.

This and other tracks featured this month can be streamed on the updating Obscure Sound’s ‘Best of November 2023’ Spotify playlist.

We discovered this release via MusoSoup, as part of the artist’s promotional campaign.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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