Mutemath aren’t your garden variety Alt Rock band. Their back story says so. For one, they are not teenagers, they are close to 30 now, and they are just breaking into the mainstream. Secondly, their founding members aren’t the usual singer-meets-guitarist fare. No, it’s a slightly deranged keyboardist-singer meeting a drummer that started this band. And what a great band this is. It’s full of textures, major hooks, kick-ass basslines (the bassist is a sessions veteran) and some serious drumming. It’s a very different sound than the usual Alt Rock template of straightforward drumming and loads of layers. Of course, there is loads of layering and keyboards on top of keyboards on top of keyboards, but the rhythms are all as forward in the mix as any punk rock recording you can think of. That makes Mutemath quite unique.
Hang on, I think I’ve put the cart before the horse by talking about mixing and shit without talking about the songs themselves. I felt it was important to distinguish them from the rest of Alt Rock. I’m happy to report that I have finally found two Alt Rock bands that I like: this and Muse. And both the names begin with M. Its cosmic, I tell you. Anyway, the lyrics are undistinguished, if well crafted into the grooves on offer. In fact, I think thats a great thing about this band, the phrasing and fitting of lyrics into songs. Just hear the fantastic “Chaos” and “Plan B”. These guys know how to craft songs.
Both Muse and Mutemath begin with M. Its cosmic, I tell you.
And all this is helped along heartily by their pretty energetic live performances, and fairly high production values. Think Portishead’s “Give me a reason” meets Muse‘s “Bliss”, and you begin to get the picture. One of the good side effects of this much attention to the overall sound, is the prevalance of instrumentals. Check out “Reset”, which is quite a kick-ass drum showcase. The guy has feel and technique in spades.
Of course, the album is far from perfect. Sometimes, the techy sounds are annoying, and descend into silliness. And further, the band isn’t yet big enough for us would-be fans to tolerate their indulgence in soundscapes, that too some 14 songs long. But that’s all I can say in criticism. I’d recommend “Chaos”, “Control”, “Typical” and “Collapse” as good tracks to start from. This generally sounds right.
– El Bajista
More MUTEMATH HERE.
More ALTERNATIVE ROCK/GRUNGE/INDIE reviews HERE.
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