Plenty to Say
The self-titled debut album from New Orleans’ Mute Math includes thirteen tracks that cross boundaries in musical genres and will likely leave listeners speculating their many influences.The instrumental opener, “Collapse,” includes steady drum beats and building atmospheric ambiance that never conclude or disassemble. The subtle ending contrasts with the rocking intro to “Typical.” The guitar and bass lead-in immediately exposes the core to Radiohead’s “Optimistic,” yet it is somewhat veiled by a key change and brighter tonality. The great divide between the two bands emerges as the vocals begin. Echoing a combination of Peter Gabriel and Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida, the vocals are clear and often simplistic, asking “How long should it take somebody/Before they can be someone?” The contrived lyrics are also prevalent in the rowdier “Chaos” â€šÃ„Ã¬ “I know you stay true when my world is false/Everything around’s breakin’ down to chaos.”
The entrancing “You Are Mine” allows Mute Math to take a giant step back. While the lyrics are persistent, continually repeating the title, the slower lounge groove allows the group to cohere and still stand out. “Stare At The Sun” includes held back beats mixed with synthesized effects. The subtle harmony blends perfectly with perhaps the best vocal set on the album.
Mute Math cites DJ Shadow as an influence and can easily be recognized on the many trip-hop-esque tracks. The instrumental track “Polite” includes relentless drumming, so precise it’s presumably a mix. The same steady beat appears in “Picture,” this time combined with a broader array of instrumentation and vocals.
Mute Math is a broad endeavor with a mixed outcome but plenty of potential.