Release Date: Aug 18, 2009
Record label: WEA/Reprise
Genre(s): Indie, Rock, Experimental
As far as I can tell, there are three ways to approach Mute Math. The first approach is to get lost in the New Orleans modern-rock band’s dense compositional textures and innovative, multifaceted production; this approach involves being flat-out impressed with what they’re doing, generally speaking. The second approach is to brush aside all of this furious detail as being so much overproduced gloss, and point a critical finger or two at lead singer Paul Meany’s humdrum melodies, platitudinal lyrics, and radio-friendly warbling.
MUTEMATH indulge their experimental side with Armistice, the band's first album since "Typical" climbed up the Billboard charts two years prior. While "Typical" featured Technicolor guitars and arena-ready vocals, the songs on Armistice don't reveal their hooks so easily, cloaking themselves in electronics, strings, and ambient guitars while largely avoiding the poppier elements of the band's previous album. For all their experimental wrapping paper, however, these tracks still deliver what has become MUTEMATH's signature sound: a melodic brand of alternative rock that combines Paul Meany's tenor voice with an epic, nocturnal ambience reminiscent of Radiohead, Muse, and the Music.
Electro-rockers subtract originality.With Armistice, New Orleans quartet Mutemath veers further and further from the myriad genre references that comprised its intriguing debut, taking one step closer to middle-of-the-road alt-rock anonymity. Despite the album’s dynamic repertoire of sounds and influences, the band dilutes and tempers them with bland conventions. Cerebral allusions to New Order’s quivering synths and Air’s nocturnal dream-pop are buried beneath Mutemath’s thirst for a mainstream audience.