Fusing together rhythmic compositions of samples featuring drums and keyboards along with layered vocals, Mute Math’s self-titled album is anything but conventional rock music. Utilizing instruments from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, the band takes them apart and puts them back together to make new sounds that can be added to their more up-to-date
Mute Math’s fans have been left waiting nearly two years for this first full-length album, as the band’s only prior release was an EP titled Reset, released Sept. 28, 2004.
Mute Math is made up of longtime friends Paul Meany, on vocals, keyboards and synthesizers, Darren King on drums and samples, Greg Hill on guitar and Roy Mitchell-Cardenas on bass. Musically, this New Orleans-derived four piece has obvious influences sprinkled throughout the album, but without sounding like anyone other than whom they are – always the more enjoyable route.
The album opens up with an instrumental song, “Collapse,” which immediately demonstrates the band’s electronic samples and vocal-layering techniques. There are also a few other instrumental songs on the album, such as “We Have Left Our Homes,” “Polite” and “Obsolete,” all of which are either extensions of the previous song or are atmospheric in their placement.
The vocals start with the second song, “Typical,” and the pop tone of Meany’s voice comes across as a little out of place. The clear timbre of Meany’s voice pays tribute to The Police-era Sting, but within some songs it seems incongruous when paired with the electronic intensity of the music.
There are levels of energy throughout the album that bring a more well-rounded approach and almost levels of sanity at times. For example, both of the songs “Chaos” and “Break The Same” have bipolar tendencies. The tempo is upbeat one minute and down the next. Two of the most enjoyable tracks, “You Are Mine” and “Stall Out,” happen to be slower songs. They stand out because Meany’s voice matches the music completely while there’s a nice mixture of electronic sampling going on in the background.
Each element of MuteMath’s music has a different story to it, and the more you listen, the more it starts to come together. The album consists of an unmistakable musical quality that can’t be ignored, but it’s an album that will take a few listens to fully comprehend.