By Mute Math
It is always nice when it is difficult to pin a band down to any particular genre, and Mute Math are one of those that easily melt away the boundaries between alternative, pop and rock. The band's self-titled 2006 debut was a huge success and even reached the levels of an American Idol contestant performing the single 'Typical.'
As a whole, 'Armistice' takes Mute Math's ideas to a new level and extends their musical boundaries further than previously demonstrated on the first album. The opening segment of the album demonstrates a more straightforward approach, slightly, but not completely abandoning their experimental approach with extended instrumental periods. 'The Nerve' and 'Backfire' are the perfect example of how to write a great pop-rock song with a generally simple verse and chorus. Paul Meany's vocals as always are exactly what is required of the song; flowing and calm in the verses and largely melodic in the choruses. 'Clipping' is the first instance on the album where Mute Math begin to satisfy their experimental curiosity, with a complete slowdown in tempo accompanied with a meandering piano melody. They are a hugely talented band and know how to use it in good measure within a single track.
Prior to 'Armistice' being released, the band released 'Spotlight' as an EP and it was featured as part of the original soundtrack for the mega-hit film of last year (and this year) 'Twilight.' This no doubt gained the band further exposure and was a genius move on the promotional aspect of the band, as the merchandising from the film has been overwhelming.
It is definitely not an album that can be accurately represented from one single listen, it has hidden depths musically and lyrically that only appear following repeated listens. 'Goodbye' and 'Electrify' are brilliant pop songs that would easily fit in with the mainstream music culture, but at the same time it would stand out without becoming part of the repetitive pop-rock mainstream scene.
The album concludes in a change of direction, following the somewhat piano 'ballad' of the album 'Lost Year,' the track 'Burden' is Mute Math's nine-minute showcase of what the band is all about. The final five minutes of the song are where the true representation lies, as atmospheric guitars, vocals, keys and complex drumming patterns perform to bring 'Armistice' to an altogether different ending than anything else on the album.
As is the case with many bands, Mute Math are best seen live, as keytars, several drum pieces and an assortment of instruments are brought together to provide an exhilarating performance in both sound and vision. But for now, 'Armistice' more than fills the gap until the band tour again.