Electro-rockers subtract originality.
With Armistice, New Orleans quartet Mutemath veers further and further from the myriad genre references that comprised its intriguing debut, taking one step closer to middle-of-the-road alt-rock anonymity. Despite the album’s dynamic repertoire of sounds and influences, the band dilutes and tempers them with bland conventions. Cerebral allusions to New Order’s quivering synths and Air’s nocturnal dream-pop are buried beneath Mutemath’s thirst for a mainstream audience.
Singles-to-be like “The Nerve” contrast frenzied, kinetic instrumentation with pump-it-up vocals, bursting with ambition and stadium-rock dreams—a grating foil to the band’s otherwise respectable attempt at post-rock experimentation, which is ultimately rendered background noise against vocalists Paul Meany and Greg Hill’s anthemic howls. The result is an awkward balancing act between a premature lust for accessibility and an obvious knack for the avant-garde, shirking traces of the latter in an ill-fated attempt at evolution.