5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Balance is Maintained,
This review is from: Armistice (Audio CD)
I suppose I should put my cards on the table to begin with. I regarded Mutemath's first album as a mixed bag. I liked Chaos, You Are Mine, Control, and I liked them a LOT. But, I was less enamoured with some of the other tracks. There was a classic sweet and sour tension in that previous album - two sensibilities at work. In the follow up to any such album, it's always interesting to see how that balance progresses.
So, here comes Armistice. They made it, they argued about it, they deferred it, they made it over again with a new producer, then they released it. Was it worth all the heartache and waiting? Let's hear....
What ever happend with those first three tracks? My heart sank as they played, perhaps they will improve on further accquiantance, but at first listen they sound like triumphs of attitude and little more. I found them bleak bleak bleak. I'll keep trying though. I almost gave up at this point. Fortunately I didn't...
"Spotlight" has been well-trailed and is a concert crowd pleaser with its sing along riff. Obviously, a single.
"Pins and Needles" is a nice little contemplative song in which the melodic side of the band gets full reign.
In "Goodbye" we hear again that magical balance between melody and attitude which made some of the tracks on the previous album so good. For me, this is the standout track of the album and of course it will be a single. A breezy pop song to which Paul Meaney's voice is able to bring just a slight edge.
"Odds" breaks the format slightly, a drum-driven song with a strong hook.
"Electrify" works well because it rises and falls in pace and intensity, although it's not a particularly strong song.
Armistice, the title track, IS a strong song and tumbles along nicely, well arranged and well paced - harking back very strongly to the sound of Earthsuit.
"Lost Year" is a nice song, a slower track that shows off well one of the band's strongest selling points (though one that they perhaps over-use): Namely that Paul Meaney's voice doubles up very well. He has a strong voice, but it somehow sounds a lot better when it's doubled - and MM know this and do it at every opportunity.
On "Burden" we get as close to funky guitar as it's possible to get without actually going there (but hold on to that thought....)
Valium is a sad little low-key song which works really well because it has appealing chord changes.
Finally, we have the "2nd line" version of "Armistice". Wow! There IS funky guitar here, essentially this is a soul version of the title track. A little Average White Band and a lot Jamiroqui. NOW I know who Paul Meaney's vocal style reminds me of 8-)Actually I like this version as much as the first.
So, overall, I think that the balance that lies at the heart of MMs appeal is still intact. Their avowed mission is to make music that doesn't grind any political, religious or other axes but has wide appeal. For the most part I think that this album serves that mission well. I just don't 'get' those first three tracks..... as ever, your mileage may vary.
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Initial post: 7 Jan 2010 22:49:48 GMT
Henry Shaffer III says:
MuteMath is one of the best and most original bands in the world. I saw them five times live in the United States. They are one of the best live bands I have ever seen. Most all Mutemath fans will attest to this. Their first band was great from start to end. Many people were worried about how they would follow up the success of that album. Armistice is a great album. They stay true to themselves and making great music. It was evidently a long and painstaking process for the band and at one point they are said to have started completely over. I have HUGE respect for these guys and am amazed at how much of themselves they put into their music and into it being a great experience for the people who come to their shows.
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