My friend asthenia* (Ethan) and I love to talk about music. We thought it'd be fun to each choose an album every week that neither of us had heard, listen to it, and post our thoughts in a blog for (probably) no one to read. There's really no criteria for what we choose other than that it's something new for the both of us. So here it goes, enjoy!
Mutemath is a band that I had never listened to, but was one that I'd heard tons of praise about. When Ethan chose this album I was pretty excited, as they're a band that I had been telling myself to check out but never actually did. It definitely takes a few listens to digest (at over 50 minutes it’s no quick listen), but once you do, you realize the album is quite good.
I’ll start off by saying that the first three tracks are all great songs. “Odd Soul” is an energetic track that gives the listener a pretty good idea of what’s about to come. The chorus is extremely catchy and it’s a song that I keep coming back to. “Prytania” is the next song and it begins with interesting drumming that immediately impressed me; in fact, the drumming throughout the entire record is always quite strong. “Prytania” is easily one of the standout songs. First single “Blood Pressure” follows, and it is a gem. It has an amazing bass riff and catchy chorus. It is basically the perfect single.
“Allies” is another one of my favorite tracks. For some reason I picture it as the perfect ‘soundtrack song’ to the coolest movie I’ve ever seen. It would make a great single, and it’d be extremely fun to see live. “Equals” is another strong track, and along with “One More” it supplies a strong one-two punch near the end of the album. “Equals” leads seamlessly into “Quarantine,” a 7-minute epic that is oddly placed as the second-last song on the album (it would have been a fitting closer with its extended instrumental outro). The band instead chooses to close with “In No Time,” a song that is unique as it is the one ‘slower’ song on the album. It’s refreshing to hear the band try something different, and the chorus is actually quite calming and beautiful. It is probably my favorite track.
The weaker tracks include the unmemorable “Sunray,” “Heads Up,” and “Walking Paranoia.” One of my main flaws with this album is the extent to which the songs all sound relatively similar. On the first few listens, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the songs as you are getting through it. Those three songs, in particular, bring nothing new or exciting to the table. With an album as long as this, all three of those songs could’ve been demoted to ‘b-side status.’
As a whole, I was really impressed with Odd Soul. I’m not too sure where it will rank at the end of the year compared to the rest of the albums I have heard, but it is definitely worth a listen if this type of music if your thing.
Ethan's favorite tracks: Allies, Odd Soul, Quarantine
My favorite tracks: In No Time, Blood Pressure, Allies
I Am The Avalanche - Avalanche United [My Choice]
I had also never listened to I Am The Avalanche before, but Drew Beringer’s review on this website got me interested. After a few weeks with it, I can confidently say that this is one of my favorite albums of the year.
The record begins with “Holy Fuck,” and after my first listen I was already hooked. The buildup in the bridge that leads into Vinnie screaming the final chorus just sounds so huge. “Brooklyn Dodgers” follows, and it has one of the most instantly memorable chorus’ of the record. There’s no way you won’t be singing along to the ‘hey, hey’ part in the bridge, and there’s no way this song won’t be stuck in your head long after you listen to it. Next up is “Amsterdam,” which is one of my favorites. The bridge that leads into the guitar solo is probably my favorite part of the entire album. It just sounds so passionate and it’s exactly the type of thing I look for when listening to this type of music.
Other album highlights include “I’ll Be Back Around,” “This One’s On Me,” “You’ve Got Spiders,” and “Casey’s Song.” “This One’s On Me” is all about the importance of friends and family and is one of the catchiest songs I’ve heard all year. The cheers that accompany the opening bass riff make you think the band were having tons of fun recording it. “You’ve Got Spiders” is 2 minutes of the pure pop-punk (emphasis on the punk) bliss, and I imagine that it would tons of fun to see live. Closer “Gratitude” is another strong song and it ends the album on a high note. The last minute of the song, for lack of a better phrase, is epic as shit.
The album is not without it’s faults. “Dead Friends” is not particularly memorable, and even a cool guest-vocal from Anthony Raneri (of Bayside) doesn’t save “The Gravedigger’s Argument” from mediocrity. “The Place You Love Is Gone” is another relatively weak track. With that being said, I wouldn't consider any of the songs bad. I find still find myself enjoying even the weakest songs on the album to an extent and I rarely skip anything.
So, despite those flaws, I was extremely impressed with Avalanche United. There's no doubt in my mind that it's going to rank among my favorite albums of the year and I'd highly recommend it.
Ethan's favorite tracks: This One's On Me, Brooklyn Dodgers, Amsterdam
My favorite tracks: Amsterdam, This One's On Me, You've Got Spiders