Mute Math - Spotlight EP
Record Label: Teleprompt/Warner Bros. Records
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Earlier in my life I chopped down the Mute Math tree because their long songs felt self-indulgent. Paul Meany has a lot to say and play and do and perform. I couldn’t handle the dancing or the perfectly placed synths, so I simply slouched out of the fiery kitchen (as is my custom). But a funny thing happened right about the time they got all pissy at Warner Bros. for calling them “Christian,” I realized it wasn’t the songs with a problem; it was me. And you don’t need to know any of this. What’s actually pertinent is the recently released single/EP Spotlight. Forget the connection with the Twilight soundtrack and focus on what this means for Mute Math fans: their next full-length is oh-so-close. Three songs and a remix are enough for me to start the dangerous trek up Anticipation Mountain.
What with the band being fairly stingy on releasing music lately, a teaser EP like this can be fairly scary. Waiting for so long to hear a bunch of crap is a terrifying possibility, but “Clockwork” should squash any night terrors you're having. Simply put, it may be the best song Mute Math has ever written. Immediately we are treated to post-punk riffs and glitchy electronics. Meany’s raspy voice makes a forceful appearance with the lines, “Time is a thief with a loaded gun / The sky runs by while the days are gone.” As the song’s chorus burgeons into ringing guitars and Darren King’s always-tricky drumming, you might just want to lick your lips. “Clockwork” is the band’s biggest step towards universal likeability.
Maybe I’m biased (I am! We all are!), but the “Spotlight” remix by Son Lux trumps everything else on Spotlight. I’ll be honest: it was the first song I played from the EP. Fans of Son Lux’s electronic opus At War With Walls and Mazes will instantly enjoy the slowing and griming of Mute Math’s upbeat, handclap-laden pop tune. Son Lux turns the song into a chaotic, orchestral piece with overpowering vocal effects and stop-go dynamisms. Because of such riotous sound effects, when Meany sings, “We’re all in trouble,” the foreboding takes on a wicked connotation. If anything, Son Lux’s remix proves the versatility and complexity of Mute Math’s songs. There is so much to dissect; the remix sounds completely new, yet still easily recognizable all at once.
But no matter which way you head on Spotlight, you’ll find something exciting - even the mostly instrumental “Earlylight” will have you grooving to its simple pianos and grungy drums. Meany and Crew have not been resting on their live show laurels. Instead they've been busy creating the most challenging and rewarding songs of their career. Let’s just hope there’s more goodness to come, because any future missteps could be devastating to my health.
Recommended If You Like:Lovedrug, Bloc Party, slam dunktronica (oof), Earthsuit, hit for the popcycle (oof)
Just picked up this album before I went to work this morning and listened on the way it. I thought Spotlight was great but the vocals on Clockwork seemed a little too ambient/produced(?) for me. Still, a great little release, can't wait for the full length.
I'm so ready for the new album, but for some reason this was a let down. "Earlylight" sounds like a toned down remix of "Spotlight" because of the repeated melody/motif. Therefore there was only one really "new" song on the Ep. I agree with the greatness of Clockwork though. Their live DVD is one my son rocks out to on a regular basis so we're eagerly awaiting the new CD.
I'm slowly falling for their first album, definitely agree that it's is very self-indulgent but still pretty great. These guys are fantastic performers and "Spotlight" is great. Gotta buy the whole EP.