Mute Math: “Armistice”
By this time a lot of folks have forgotten that New Orleans quartet Mute Math rose from the ashes of Earthsuit, a short-lived Christian rock band that was actually pretty great. Released in the same year as landmarks like Kid A and Stankonia, Earthsuit’s lone studio album didn’t exactly revolutionize the entire face of music, but, by Christian rock standards, it might as well have; the music was not just relentlessly eclectic, drawing from hip-hop and rock and classic R&B, but it combined those elements in fresh ways and married them to lyrics that studiously avoided clichés, rendering them the exceedingly rare Christian band that was able to express their faith—and their music—with real originality.
In other words, Earthsuit did a lot of things very well. Mute Math, on the other hand, does exactly two things very well – splitting the difference between murky electronics and hooky, heart-on-sleeve pop. They’re led by Paul Meany, who played keys and sang in Earthsuit, and they’ve dramatically pared down the eclecticism of that former incarnation. There’s no hip-hop here – just skittering, nervous electro-beats. Reggae and R&B are jettisoned, as well, in favor of a sound indebted to ’80s art-rock icons U2, Peter Gabriel, and Talking Heads. The band, in a nustshell, then, is this: a careful balancing act between arena-swelling grandeur and the hazy avant-garde.
Read the rest at Stereo Subversion.