Album Review :
Mute Math - Armistice

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Artist: Mute Math
Album: Armistice
Label: Teleprompt Records
Release Date: August 18, 2009
Review by: Michael Mayer III

Tracklisting:

  1. The Nerve
  2. Backfire
  3. Clipping
  4. Spotlight
  5. No Response
  6. Pins and Needles
  7. Goodbye
  8. Odds
  9. Electrify
  10. Armistice
  11. Lost Year
  12. Burden

I’m starting to believe that Mute Math is not a band that excels at making albums so much as occasionally addicting songs that make you want to dance. On their debut they showed all the potential and promise in the world, but it was bogged down by too many long instrumentals and filler. I was happy to find that their sophomore effort, Armistice, was free of those intrumentals. Unfortunately the filler was still there.

Make no mistake, the first four tracks are fantastic and have plenty of variety between them. ‘The Nerve’ and ‘Backfire’ are the more upbeat numbers that are easy to dance to and immediately following is the slower ‘Clipping’ backed by a beautiful piano and complimented by Paul’s vocals perfectly. The song feels grand in scale as all the instruments come together; strings included. It also elicits feelings of driving through a beautiful countryside at night making it my favorite track by far. They need to make more songs like this that stray from any resemblence of a status quo song structure.

However, one of the main reasons I can’t get into a good deal of these songs is the repetition of the lyrics. For example, ‘No Response’ starts off fine but the verses are repeated over and over to the point that I’m thinking, ‘I heard you the first time, let’s move on’. It reminded me of techno music and that despite how good the beat may be the reptition grates on my nerves to the point of annoyance. Mute Math are, by no means, techno, but they do have a knack for great electronic beats marred by the same problem. ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Electrify’ are culprits of this as well.

Aside from that the other disappointing aspect of some songs is the fact they fizzle out. For a band that has shown it can craft moving climaxes in the past they sure could have used a few to spice up ‘Odds’ and ‘Armistice’. The latter has a catchy riff throughout, but the chorus doesn’t mesh well with it and despite the use of some horns and strings it all feels underwhelming. If ‘Clipping’ was a twisting drive through the countryside these two were straight shots through a desert. They had the right idea but the execution was lackluster.

Overall: That’s actually a good description of the album as a whole. ‘Lost Year’ bored me to tears and ‘Burden’ was no where near as good of a closer as it should have been. It’s nine minutes of all the things I loved and hated about Armistice. Great beat, catchy moments, unbearable repetition, useless jamming, and a poor ending. If some of those things don’t bother you then you’ll enjoy this album a lot more than I did. For what it’s worth, Armistice is not a horrible album so much as an average one that doesn’t live up to the potential Mute Math have. As a result, their debut was a more daring and stronger release while this one played it safe.

Gems of this album are: ‘Clipping’, ‘The Nerve’, ‘Backfire’, ‘Spotlight’

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