Saturday, February 17, 2007

anything but typical

as a fan of music, i remember catching some of the hype surrounding an ep put out by this band from new orleans a few years ago. the band was called mutemath and the ep was called "reset." i bought it, and it surprised me because it wasn't what i expected, but i really liked it.

a few years later, i had heard that they had released their first full length cd, but that it was independent and you could only get it on their website. laziness won the day and i never ordered it. then, around christmas, i heard that a major label had picked it up and you could buy it other places. so i wisely added it to my christmas list.

i say wisely because my parents saw it on my list and bought it for me, even though the only
reason i can imagine that my dad picked this cd from the list of 40 is that it had the word
"math" in it. whatever the reason, i unwrapped it on christmas day, and i have been taken with it ever since.
now, i realize that any review of music is extremely subjective because it must allow for that thing
called "taste," for which there is no accounting, as they say. but i do believe there is a certain
objectivity, as well, as far as evaluating whether art is quality or not. this, my friends, is indeed

quality art. will you like it? i have no idea. but i know i sure do.

if i could describe the mutemath sound to you, i would have to say that it sounds like the police and radiohead merged into one and added some muscle. as soon as you hear paul meany's voice, you have to recognize the police connection: he sounds like a younger, fuller, slightly angrier and deeper sting. there are some quieter moments when i have to remind myself that it is NOT sting. the music reminds me of radiohead in that it is somewhat hard to categorize. sometimes it rocks. sometimes it meanders. there are many blips and beeps and interesting sounds that, in my opinion, don't distract, but serve the music well. it is a kind of musical collage, with all the noise serving the song.

i am tempted to go through song-by-song and isolate what i love about each track on this cd, from the lyrics on "stare at the sun" to the emotion of "stall out" to the incredible, absolutely incredible, drumming throughout. if you like drums or rhythm, i highly recommend this album.

instead, i will close with some lyrics from the song typical:
i know there's got to be another level
somewhere closer to the other side
and i'm feeling like its now or never
can i break the spell
of the typical?
well, in my humble opinion, mutemath, you have broken the spell the of the typical. this art you have made as christians, but mostly just as musicians and lyricists, is anything but typical. it is exceptional. thank you.


Crafty P said...

you should really do a weekly (if not more regular) music review.

some of my kids favorite cd's are ones that you have made for me.

thanks for the review... sting merged with radiohead sounds so amazingly intriguing to me.

I feel so out of the loop in music anymore and depend on fellow music lovers like yourself for enlightenment.

thank you.

Julie said...

seth and i have been listening to mutemath consistently for the past month! i love their new album - the musical interlude on track one is amazing and track two is my favorite, very catchy.

it's cool because a couple of my students this year are music heads and they have even heard of mutemath. they think it's really cool that i like mutemath and interpol.

i agree with christina, you should do more reviews, because i usually agree with your taste in music. you're right when you say that it's about your own taste, though, because mutemath isn't for everyone.

greg. said...

glad you guys liked the review. this is seriously my favorite album of 2006. it rocks, but its also smart. i don't want them to get too popular, though. i kind of want them to remain the little secret that only some of us are cool enough to know about.

i've seen them live a couple of times. both times they were freaking incredible. they have unbelievable energy and charisma. can you say keytar? oh yeah...

Kerri said...

hey Greg - ever listen to Sigur Ros? i've been devouring his stuff for the past few months and aiming to bring it on a Sunday morning sometime. it's all in Icelandic, but there seems (to me at least) to be something particularly annointed about it. could just be me, but it does something to my insides. start with the album () then go from there.