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Mute Math
Armistice
Warner Records
www.mutemath.com


The fall season of 2009 has been one full of new releases. From every genre fans have been inundated with new music to fill their ears. However it seems that some of the new releases have been in haste. With the caliber falling short of the previous albums, some of these ears were slightly disappointed. However, this was not the case when New Orleans natives Mute Math released their second full length LP. Having previously blown everyone away with their self-titled album, the band clearly and easily struck gold again with Armistice.

It's refreshing when you find a band that bears no comparison to another. They are so brilliant and ingenious that they have eternally set themselves apart. Mute Math is a band that, since their inception, has been on a completely different level than the rest. From the first song "The Nerve" on the new album, you already know this piece of work came from that level. The energy in the song is insane. When it's mixed with a bit of body-grooving beats, it makes an unbelievable trip. The chanted chorus "set it on fire," becomes a permanent part of your subconscious. And what keeps the flow all together is a great bluesy guitar riff. Now "Backfire" comes in at #2, but is most definitely my #1 on the album. The boys are taking a shot on a bit of dance beats. The blues riff changed into more of a slower R&B drawl. They take that R&B drawl and set it as a base under the aforementioned dance beats. What results is the next addiction for fans hankering for another "Typical."

If you're a victim of pop culture then you've already heard #4 "Spotlight." This is the perfect reintroduction (or introduction for some) for the band into the scene. The tempo in this song is incredibly fast. All the way down to the hand claps midway through that have got to come from someone full on Red Bull. Its melodic nature and catchy hooks make it easy to see why it hit the scene first. This is one of those songs in which it's hard to tell the difference between Paul's (lead vox/keys) keyboard and a guitar. But that again shows you the strength of their musicianship. Despite the ease that the band seems to have with crazy beats and quick tempos, there are a few slower songs on the album. One of the more beautiful ones is "Pins And Needles." The stronger elements for this number are the keys, programming, and percussion. The delicate drums almost carry the song all by themselves, but the hint of keys and a few effects truly polish it off. The final finishing accent is the orchestral section. It may only cover the last 30 seconds of the song, but it is magical.

For the title track they broke the norm and stuck "Armistice" at #10 (would you really expect anything else?). When you start a song off with purely hand claps and a very slight touch of percussion you're going to grab anyone's attention. Eventually the rest of the members join in, but it's that beat that holds the song together. And if that wasn't enough, once you finally make it to the chorus, you're greeted with a couple brass instruments, one of which goes on a little boogie solo, just to make sure you're still moving. At the end of the album we've got "Burden" that starts off quiet and slow. It stays like that for about 30 seconds, and then out comes that Mute Math twist. The juicy part is that lead guitar that maintains a fairly simple chord progression, yet manages to twang it out a few times. And then about half way through [the song] goes all raw-Hendrix style on you. One norm that the band did follow was putting the extended song at the end of the album. This one comes in at 9:05. The initial song takes you through about four of those nine minutes, after which is a nice instrumental interlude. Everything mellows out and then the latter half is what I believe would be a Mute Math lullaby. Granted, the lyrics speak of "devil," it's the soft strings, mixed with Paul's perfect voice and enchanting effects that give it its child-like simplicity.

For a second full length album and essentially their 4th gift of music to the world, I think this one had the biggest bow. Mute Math got us started and Armistice is keeping the bar raised and the fans enthralled.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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