by chuck bell

It is hard to ignore the irony in writing a Dead Bands profile on a group that took their name from the Thundercats villain, “Mumm-Ra the Everliving.” Despite the immortality that their name implied, after nearly eight years of playing together, Mumm-Ra decided to call it quits. Although they had been gaining popularity in the UK over the last few years of their existence, they broke up just before they were able to break out in the United States.

Artist: Mumm-Ra
Song: These Things Move In Threes

The band was initially formed by bassist/vocalist Niall Buckler in the East Sussex town Bexhill on Sea in 2000, when they were all still in high school. They did not put out any recorded material until 2005, when they self-released The Dance in France EP. The following year, they released both The Dance on the Shore EP and the What Would Steve Do? EP. At around this time, Sony BMG signed the band and financed yet another EP, Black Hurts Day and the Night Rolls On.

By 2007, Mumm-Ra were on the fast track to becoming one of the UK’s biggest breakout bands. They joined the NME Awards Indie Rock Tour, alongside The Automatic, The View and the Horrors. They also scored several international stints opening for The Kooks, the Kaiser Chiefs, and The Killers over the course of the year. NME Magazine even put them on their list of ten bands “guaranteed to soundtrack in 2007.” The band finally released their debut full-length, These Things Move in Threes, in May of 2007. They released three singles from the album, “Out of the Question,” “What Would Steve Do?” and “She’s Got You High.” Their brand of post-punk, falling somewhere between The Libertines and Bloc Party, seemed to be catching on enough for them to cross over in the United States. However, just days after they finished recording the video for their would-be fourth single, “Starlight,” the label cancelled its release.

Mumm-Ra canceled the last few days of what would be their final tour, claiming that they were taking that time to work on their sophomore album, which never surfaced. On April 17, 2008, the band posted their farewell letter on their MySpace page, saying: “After 7 years, 11 months and 21 days of writing and playing music together us Mumm-Ra boys have decided our journey as a band has come to an end.” They went on to list places they never thought they would have gone and bands they never thought they would have toured with, but never gave a concrete reason for their breakup. Though the band did not soundtrack in 2007, as NME predicted, their song “She’s Got You High” appeared in the British movie “Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging” in 2008, and rolled over the end credits of the immensely popular “(500) Days of Summer” in 2009. Unfortunately, their American exposure came over a year too late. Since their breakup, several members have been playing together in a band called Mirrors. Their touring keyboardist, Tommy Bowen, is currently touring with White Lies. Let us hope that their current rise in popularity will convince the band to emulate their namesake, and rise from the tomb even stronger and more powerful than before.

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