Artist: MuteMath Album: Play Dead Year: 2017 Grade: B-
In Brief: It’s chill and yet energetic, stripped down at times and yet very dense and “jammy” at others. A deliberate contrast to Vitals at times, yet the parallel writing process of both albums shows through occasionally. While I don’t think this is MuteMath’s best work, I have to separate my negative feelings about the recent departure of two band members from my opinion of the material on this album that was recorded while they were still very much a part of the creative process.
In Brief: Brooke Waggoner’s “mad composer” vibe continues to intrigue as it did on Originator, but I miss the choral backing vocals and the more aggressive material from the front half of that album. Sweven feels uneven and disjointed as a result of the starker sound.
Artist: MuteMath Album: Vitals Year: 2015 Grade: B
In Brief: It’s their most upbeat and optimistic record since their self-titled, but it’s not as musically ambitious as that record or Odd Soul. While that makes it a lesser MuteMath record on the level of Armistice, it’s absolutely still worth a listen.
Artist: Foo Fighters Album: Sonic Highways Year: 2014 Grade: B+
In Brief: With this aural tribute to eight of our country’s great cities, featuring artists as diverse as Ben Gibbard, Joe Walsh, and Zac Brown (and that’s just on my three favorite tracks), Foo Fighters have finally gotten me hooked after nearly two decades of me thinking they weren’t my style. Not every experiment works, but the band is wise to let the various genre influences from each city be a flavor rather than the entire dish, which makes the record overall more cohesive and engaging than the sum of its parts.