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Mute Math: Mute Math

Mute Math: Mute Math

Label:Warner Bros.
Release Date:2006

By Kevin O’Donnell | Posted 11/1/2006

New Orleans' Mute Math did something shocking soon after signing with Warner Bros.: The band sued its new label. The four band members took issue with WB marketing them as a Christian rock outfit. In an industry where thousands of albums are released a year and returns are ever diminishing, who could blame Mute Math for freaking out over how its image was packaged?

Thing is, Mute Math certainly sounds like a band of faith. The crucial difference is it doesn't suck. The band's self-titled debut almost never veers into that most sinful of tones: the minor key. Instead, frontman Paul Meany (who plays a so-uncool-it's-cool keytar), guitarist Greg Hill, bassist Roy Mitchell-Cardenas, and drummer Darren King have crafted sweeping, uplifting anthems spiked with so much atmosphere--gobs of reverb and new-wave synth noodling, most of it fresh--that Mute Math sounds like a dumbed-down, parent-approved version of those four atheists in Radiohead.

One of the most obvious references to J.C. also appears on one of the best cuts, "Break the Same." "It's the sticks and stones that wear us down/ That often save our lives," Meany sings over clattering drums, muddied guitars, and a meaty bass line. It feels apocalyptic, and the title suggests the ritual of taking Eucharist at church, but maybe he's just acting emo.

Mute Math isn't a Christian act that proselytizes. On one standout track--and there are a few--"Chaos," Meany admits in his smoky, nasal-free tenor, "complication is my claim to fame." Avoiding discussion of your faith for fear of being persecuted by your peers? That's positively a sin. But just because Meany doesn't flaunt his crucifix, it doesn't mean he's not wearing one.

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