by Griff Stevens
Mutemath is back with a full-length album titled, Play Dead. The band was previously released under Warner Brothers Studios from 2006-2011, but Play Dead, their second full-length album, is now under Wojtek Records. The American alternative rock band from New Orleans consists of: lead vocalist and keyboardist Paul Meany, guitarist Todd Gummerman, and bassist Jonathan Allen, but they often switch instrument and perform on any mixture or variation of these instruments. Play Dead continues their signature sound of a cross between: soul, alternative, pop and classic rock. With perhaps a little more ‘80s synth-pop featured on this album, the band still has the harmonies and strong riffs that are influences from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
“Hit Parade,” the first single that the band released in June, features Meany singing the verse with only his keyboard accompanying him, his voice is slightly effected and the melody is catchy and covers a wide range. Harmonies enter and a riff straight from the ‘70s leads us into the chorus. The band song forms are full of twists and turns, and even though there are multiple sections, the form flows nicely, and each segment is strong and offers strong melodies that fit together to form a “Hit Parade.”
“Stroll On” another single from the album, kicks off with a synth intro over a funky drum beat, the song develops to the vocal entrance. Filled with soft, psychedelic rock textures and feels, the chorus is strong and the band again displays their song writing skills by having multiple section and feels. With heavy EDM overtones and a little drum thrown in for good measure, the song is also rich with vocal harmonies and counterpoint. Meany’s singing is focused and his singing chops are up for the job!
Mutemath has a versatile album with Play Dead. Their songwriting has taken on new directions and the psychedelic and alternative rock sounds, combined with synthetic pop is a nice mix. The success in this release is the song structures, always moving forward, but never getting lost, the music has a sense of evolution and momentum.
Tracks to sample first: “Hit Parade,” “Stroll On,” “War” and “Break the Fever.” The song to take a chance on is “Pixie Oaks.”