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MUTEMATH Odd Soul CD. Recording information: East West Studio; Sunset sound.
Photographer: Claire Marie Vogel.
While mainstream enough to get nominated for a Grammy, New Orleans post-rock quartet Mute Math are more versatile than they seem at surface value, and their musical range finally shows through on Odd Soul. While a fundamentally uneven 13 songs, this departure from the processed norm finds the musicians channeling their inner groove through soulful rhythms and riffs. (Who knew that under all the fancy production sparkle, these guys had chops?) Starting with a track modeled after the primal garage blues stomp of the Black Keys, the album switches styles from there on out. "All or Nothing" detours into sprightly electronic Radiohead pitter-patter, "Allies" is made up of slinky Jamiroquai funk, "Sun Ray" is a washed-out vibraphone jam, and "In No Time" is practically chillwave. The bandmembers are smart in their execution: while the songs swerve and the band is rocking out for the most part in a harder-edged live style, breezy melodies still make up a big part of their appeal. Paul Meany holds everything together with his high, steamy vocals, and he seems comfortable regardless of the environment. However, Mute Math sound most natural when they let loose as a funk rock/alt-rock hybrid that closely resembles a heavy version of Tahiti 80. As rough as that translates on paper, this form of music totally works for them and pops up in more than a few of their best songs, including "Cavalries," "One More," and "Walking Paranoia." ~ Jason Lymangrover
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