Review Summary: An amazing debut that ventures from pop-rock to spiraling epics with the talent of a band that's been at it for years.
In early 2006, a little alternative rock band with keyboards called Mute Math independently released their debut album, which happened to be self-titled. The album was put up on the internet and began to sell like crazy; and in no time Mute Math was landing shots on magazine covers and getting side-stage spots in huge concerts everywhere. Once Warner Brothers Records picked up the album, Mute Math shot up as a huge, unsuspecting hit on the music scene with their unique sound created by their multiple influences and their collage of rock, synth-rock, synth-pop and electronica. In no time, the single Typical
was getting sung by Chris Sligh on American Idol, and the song was taking radio waves by force.
Not only is Mute Math's debut a collage of sound and influences, the lead singer Paul Meany manages to wail like Sting in many of the album's songs while wielding a keytar in style. But make no mistake; Mute Math's debut isn't a prototypical retro synth-rock record; Mute Math takes after Radiohead and Muse much more than they do The Killers. While some of the songs are arena-rock radio-ready anthems like Typical
; the album manages to have a few Radiohead-influenced psychedelic songs like Stare at the Sun
, and You Are Mine
. But there's another something special that makes Mute Math special; as Paul Meany has a wonderful voice that allows him to wail like Sting or drop down to lulling vocals in songs like You Are Mine
Opening up with Collapse
, which is more of an introduction to the album than anything else, it manages to set the stage well for Typical
, a poppy yet ridiculously catchy, fun, arena-rock anthem that features plenty of guitar riffs and keyboard twinges. Paul Meany manages to belt out vocals in style in the catchy chorus in a style that not many lead singers can. Chaos
starts out like a Muse classic that quickly spirals into a bass-led epic where the lead singer Paul Meany shows where all the Sting comparisons come from. He wails away in the pre-chorus in a way that would make Sting's jaw drop. The song is really catchy, but a bit more electronica influenced than Typical
but its still a great song.
Going from a rather standard yet really great and addicting sound with Typical
, the album manages to jump all over the place showing off a number of their influences and sounds. Songs like the OK Computer-era Radiohead influenced Without It
and Stare at the Sun
make this album a really good listen with their unique keyboard squiggles and spacy, atmospheric noises. You are Mine
is very psychedelic and atmospheric, it really manages to grasp the feel of Mute Math's debut album as well as Paul Meany's echoing layered vocals manage to add to the epic sound of the song. And after a quick jolt back to the radio-friendly synth-rock with Picture
, Mute Math's debut goes into a long spiraling epic called Stall Out
which takes its influences from Radiohead and Arcade Fire as its simply amazing. The lead singer's voice captures you in the introduction with its soothing and dubbed down vocals; and it never really lets you go until the album ends.
It may seem as if Mute Math is best at ripping off bands; but its not what they do. Paul Meany's wonderful vocals and the excellent drumming in this album gives them a unique sound and feel their influences don't have. If this is what Mute Math calls their debut album, their future albums will be a work of art. I can only see this band going up from here, as they delve deeper into the catchy rock roots of songs like Typical
and the experimental sounds of songs like Stare at the Sun
and Stall Out
. Mute Math is a band destined for greatness; and they'll only go up from here as Mute Math's self-titled may be one of the best debut albums of the decade.