Album Review – Mute Math – Amistice

Armistice_Mute_MathThe band Mute Math (sometimes seen  as MUTEMATH) burst onto the indie rock scene in early 2006.  Their first release, an EP titled Reset was met with incredibly positive reviews and as a result they were signed to Warner Brothers.  Their second release, a full length self-titled album was recorded and slated for release later that year when Warner and the boys in Mute Math became embroiled in a dispute over marketing and distribution.  So Mute Math set out on a tour, winning fans and selling their self-released album.

I was introduced to them in early 2006, when, in the course of a week a friend gave me a copy of the album (not yet available in stores, just at their tour stops and underground) and then another friend had a free ticket to their show in South Florida and convinced me to go.

A Mute Math live performance is a thing to behold.  I’ve seen them 3 times now and I am always amazed at the energy and creativity they put into their music.  Disregard for the safety of their bodies and instruments makes sure that you never really know what is going to happen on stage.  I walked out of the show and proclaimed to my friend “I’ve seen the future of music and it is Mute Math.”

Three years later they’ve finally released the follow up to their acclaimed first full-length album.  I read a quote by the lead singer Paul Meany where he said that people who thought their first album was flawless would probably be disappointed by the second.  Count me in that camp.  Don’t get me wrong, this album is fantastic.  But the album Mute Math set the bar so high, there was no possible way they could ever hope to achieve that same level.

Armistice starts out with The Nerve, a song that contains the frenetic drumming and beats that Mute Math is known for.  Backfire, the first single from this album, is the next song up and I would say that it is probably the catchiest song of the entire record.  It has the fuzzed out guitars and looped beats combined with Meany’s smooth voice holding everything together that made their sound so unique in the first place.  And then the rest of the album just sort of falls in line.  The songs are good and solid and certainly reflect Mute Math’s unique Alternative Rock Synth sound (which I was amazed to learn was all live music and not machines and loops the first time I saw them.  These guys are nothing if not amazing musicians.) but to me, they seem to lack bite.  I can see how the songs will fit nicely into their live sets and I’m excited to see them.  But there is no real standout song, ala Typical on the first full length, or Reset on the EP.

So all in all, it is a great album start to finish and it really flows well.  I’m interested to see what other people are saying about it and what the general reaction will be.  My one problem with it is that it just fades into the background and does not jump out and draw you in like the first album did.  This might be just personal preference, but after 5 complete listens to the album, I’d say it is a really good album, but not transcendent.  Worth your time and money for sure, but be sure and check out their other stuff too.

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2 thoughts on “Album Review – Mute Math – Amistice

  1. James Davis says:

    Thanks for the link Sam, and I enjoyed the album review and agree with your critique! I think I may just be partial to the first album since I was blown away when you introduced me to it a couple of years ago. The second album is great but yeah, your right, they did set the bar pretty high. I’m sure I will enjoy it even more when I catch them live!

  2. Rebekah Tidwell says:

    I’ve finally had time to give Armistice a good listen. Overall I think it’s a solid album. But I agree there really isn’t a stand out, rock your socks off track. (For me this was Control on their first EP). I think it’s a little more “tame” than their previous albums. I kind of miss Paul Meany just wailing on a few tunes. But I do like how they have incorporated some more piano, and even violin on “Clipping”. “Backfire” is a fun track, and they performed it well on David Letterman. “Armistice” is pretty good, but I actually like the 2nd Line Version better. “Spotlight” is one of my favorite tracks. But this could be biased by my fondness for the Twilight books and movie. This song was played during a great scene in the movie! So, overall, I think it’s pretty good, even if not quite as stellar as their past albums. They’re still a favorite and I can’t wait to see them Nov. 5!

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