Nov 022011
 
Authors: Joe Vajgrt

Mutemath’s music has always seamlessly blended driving indie rock with psychedelic funk, blues and soul, all the while sprinkling in healthy doses of electro-pop. But on their newest offering, “Odd Soul”, it seems like the band is out to prove something.

Sure, lead singer and keyboardist Paul Meany’s trademark electronic textures and soulful vocals are ever present, while bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas and drummer Darren King constantly provide the driving thump that gives the band its heavy influence of funk.

But where the band’s first two albums were filled with quieter moments bridged by delicately balanced dynamics, the new album replaces that void with aggression and bravado.

Don’t get me wrong –– Mutemath has always had a bit of an edge to their sound — just not quite like this. So what’s changed?

Formed in New Orleans in 2003, the band experienced a shakeup in their lineup since releasing their last album. In April, the band announced that original guitarist Greg Hill had left the band the previous October.

This move seemed puzzling at first. The band was just coming off the high of critical acclaim for their second album, 2009’s stellar “Armistice.” The band is also widely revered for their stunningly energetic and acrobatic live shows.

Now that I’ve heard their new album, the reason for the change is apparent.

New guitarist Todd Gummerman adds an entirely new dynamic to the band.

Where Hill’s playing was more subtle and blended beautifully into the band’s sound, Gummerman’s riffs are big, in your face and demand your attention.

Listening to the album’s title track, “Odd Soul” showcases the album’s Black Keys- meets-Zeppelin-in-Motown vibe. Other standout tracks on the edgier side are “Blood Pressure,” and “Tell Your Heart Heads Up.”

Conversely, the track “All or Nothing” harkens back to the band’s original atmospheric, mellow indie sound before morphing into an electronic techno dance jam.

Tracks like “Walking Paranoia” showcase the band’s funkier side and sense of humor with lyrics like, “I am a nervous wreck. Jesus is coming back, gonna catch me at the porno rack.”

Becoming more ambitious with each album, Mutemath has once again triumphed over their previous release. There’s no doubt that this band’s sound is still evolving. I, for one, can’t wait to see what comes next.

Odd soul and music lover Joe Vajgrt can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 3:59 pm

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