Mutemath
Armistice


3.0
good

Review

by Vegeta of Nazareth USER (21 Reviews)
August 18th, 2009 | 24 replies | 12,370 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After a stunning debut, the synth rockers take a back seat to creativity and connection and focus on coloring between the lines.

9 of 10 thought this review was well written

Earlier this month, Mute Math vocalist Paul Meany started painting a discouraging picture with statements about Armistice: ”Anyone who thinks [our] first album is perfect will hate this [new] record.” This would-be-modest statement ends up backfiring when it comes to realization that I couldn’t agree more. If you truly loved the irregular rhythms, the big bluesy basslines you could get lost in, and the quickly accessible hook’n’reel from Mute Math’s debut, you may find yourself put off by Armistice’s conclusively transparent complexion. This is no sudden epidemic for sophomore albums birthed from new, exciting rock bands that have a knack for finding a catchy riff in the deepest oceans of melancholy. I can surely understand the explanation of the group seeking new sounds, furthering their image and experimenting with all they can, but does it always mean a band is ‘maturing’ if they progressively become, well – lazy?

In no way is Armistice a painful record. It even sounds as though it sails smoother than Mute Math’s self-titled debut. It keeps its lingering pace throughout the entire album with moments here and there of liveliness, but only a mere suggestion of aggression. The segments of chaotic instrumentation bombarding your ear drums are radically reduced to create an album more tilted towards an overall feeling of intermediation. Replacing Darren King's once intricate, kinetic drumbeats are sobbing strings you would only think to hear while riding a gondola. For scenic projections, this is suitable but what made the band so absorbing in the first place was the prospering relationship between the drum and bass. Take the title track, for instance, where a skilled and animate Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas brings the song to life with a bassline claiming its rightful place as nucleus of the melody. Juxtaposed to frantic handclaps layered over the steel frame drumbeat, the song gets perfect leeway to travel where it wants and does. Acting as a soother more than an invitation to an energy field, ‘big brass’ chimes in to keep the edges round.

So there are positive aspects in the slower songs afterall. They're great for a creativity boost when you find yourself half-listening, most likely, to the album. The jazzy “Pins And Needles” dances around quietly with a Radiohead-esque piano/ride cymbal combination and unthreatening vocals and proves itself a highlight of the mellowed down and forgettable record.
When the tunes are more upbeat, like a personal favorite, “Backfire”, they are addicting. The only problem being that it seems to be the only hook they can think of and recycle it for their other fiery attempts. The cut-throat chorus and electronic hip-hop beat make the overdose of synthesizers sound acceptable while the song does its part to stir the water that’s too still for taste. The single “Spotlight” also falls in this category, but then adds onto the evidence of Mute Math's creative slump (which would never have been said about their debut). The formula reveals itself: washy 16th note hi-hat hits taking over a basic beat while Meany confuses the listener on whether or not he has a message, a hook, or anything at all.

It’s depressing at how forgettable the songs remain after countless listens. The vocal hooks are frustratingly rare and the distinct lack of talking between the bass and drums becomes Armistice’s Achilles’ heel. What used to be such an intimate connection, capable of boosting them in front of other modern ‘synth rockers’, falls short of being a small spark. Let’s think of the advantages: for background music, this album is pretty interesting. I haven’t ignored the beauty of slow, detailed melody (a field in where “Clipping” shines greatly) – it’s just not compelling enough. So, yes, anyone who thinks Mute Math’s first album was perfect will find this disappointing. But…what does that leave for people who weren’t as impressed with their debut as the band was?



Recent reviews by this author
Shiner The EggBilly Boy On Poison Drama Junkie Queen
Sole and the Skyrider Band PlastiqueBear in Heaven Beast Rest Forth Mouth
Halford Halford III - Winter SongsJack Penate Everything Is New
user ratings (191)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
Rationalist (4)
Mute Math come back with a fantastic prog-pop album....

Caleb McAlpine (3)
Catchy enough to be successful but too redundant and familiar to be laudable....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Waior
August 18th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

We must be the same reviewer. We are the same user. The end.

Good stuff though.

PuddlesPuddles
August 18th 2009



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dude, we both called the drumming 'kinetic'.

How freaky is that?

Knott-
Emeritus
August 18th 2009



10194 Comments


so i heard there's a new mute math album out is that true?

PuddlesPuddles
August 18th 2009



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

who's mute math

Knott-
Emeritus
August 18th 2009



10194 Comments


idk some bad band

you rec'd everglow though so..

Waior
August 18th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shoot, I was going to rec everglow too.

whoa

PuddlesPuddles
August 18th 2009



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hahah you're digging that! So far I'm 2 for 2 on coincidences...

Willie
Moderator
August 18th 2009



15877 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Never heard these guys. Good review, though.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is also a good review Puddles. Well done.

The only thing I'd say is that it probably needs a few more positives to justify the rating. I can sense the disappointment in your words, but an extra paragraph maybe explaing your highlight/favorite track(s) could be useful.

PuddlesPuddles
August 18th 2009



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Will and strikey, I don't want it to seem like they're horrible in any way, it's just that they have so much talent spread around yet they don't use it all that effectively. Definitely not compared to their first album or Reset EP.
The drummer is actually phenomenal, the bassist is smooth as hell, the vocals are well performed. The guitar I think is pretty standard.

Listen to "Obsolete" or even "Chaos" and you'll see how good they can sound being both chilled/trippy (bassline in Obsolete) or when they step up the rock a bit.

Davey, I tried to explain how the lighter songs stick out more when you're not directly focused on them, but maybe that's just a cheap grab... I guess it all comes down to is it worth $12-$15? Hmm...ha, I don't know, I'll try to add something.

Thanks all around, men

pdbn
August 19th 2009



130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

couple of good songs but kinda boring. Might grow on me if keep listening,seems to be....good review.

pdbn
August 19th 2009



130 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I got the Japan version and the 3 b-side songs are some of the best on the album not sure if these are old releases or what though never heard much of these guys...

warIsPeace
August 20th 2009



14 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't given it enough listen to rate it, but from what I've heard so far, it is very lacking in comparison to their self-titled debut. That album spoke to me, wheras this one is just noise...

Good review, btw

smc17
August 20th 2009



1 Comments


wow, all the negatively, fact is mute math is still WAY better than most of the stuff coming out these days. I think the record reveals its dignity through patience and devotion - listening carefully, more than once, more than a few times - and after all the effort they put in, can't we give it to them?
I wrote a very biased, overlong review at my new blog bluntthenub.com if anyone would like to check it out and blast me for my inability to put mute math and criticism in the same sentence.

PuddlesPuddles
August 20th 2009



4765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with you, smc, and I too hold Mute Math way above most other bands these days.
But the fact is, they always had that sense of patience and devotion, and they were able to convey that on their debut very successfully. They were still so dynamic and alive in their slow, stuttering jams and I definitely saw that.

I'm still giving this album its fair listen, there are enjoyable tracks but it really felt as if they dumbed down both the musicianship and the intimacy and I have no idea why...

Klekticist
August 21st 2009



1258 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

eh, its not bad. 3-3.5

Digging: Nils Frahm - Wintermusik

wakeupdead
August 24th 2009



2204 Comments


i have never heard this band but that ad that pops up on every damn page on this site annoys the hell out of me

AndyRictor2000
September 4th 2009



146 Comments


http://www.somethingawful.com/d/garbage-day/mute-math-armistice.php

Hilarious

mikeeatsworld
September 17th 2010



17 Comments


They are so discreet and they lack a face but if they can hone the sound of their debut, they might surprise us

North0House
October 14th 2010



1764 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Honestly, I think having Spotlight on Twilight ruined them... I dunno, they sound like they're appealing to preteen girls now... Maybe it's just me, but I abhor this album, but I love their debut so so much.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy