On Your Radar – Mutemath


Kimberly Rodriguez

Dapperly dressed and unbelievably energetic, I discovered Mutemath when I stumbled across a curious video for a song called “Typical.” The video starts with a man in a gray button down and red bow tie playing some power chords on a guitar. He slowly starts backing away to reveal a somewhat chaotic looking scene around him. Brightly colored paint and post it notes littered the floor of this monochrome room. More band mates start to appear, but each of them seem to move a little peculiarly. It’s a little odd, until I realize that the band is performing the song backwards. The music video intrigued me enough to make me want to find out more about this band.

Mutemath started as a collaboration project between singer Paul Meany and drummer Darren King in 2002 when Meany was still in his previous band named Earthsuit. King would send Meany some demos and remixes he had done. Meany liked the work King did and started a correspondence with him where they would go back and forth exchanging new songs. Soon after, King moved to New Orleans to put more dedication into this project. With the addition of Greg Hill on guitar, later replaced by Todd Gummerman, and Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas on bass, this small collaboration evolved into an actual band.

Experimentation has always been key for this alternative rock band. They are constantly striving to find new and innovative ways to create extraordinary music. It’s fascinating to watch some of their “behind-the-scenes” videos because their determination and creativity are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They’ll tweak with samples many times before committing to something they like. Sometimes it involves slowing down or speeding up an instrument to the point where it’s nearly unrecognizable. The result is a fantastically composed, multilayered song.

I find myself drawn to Mutemath because of their uniqueness and incredible performances. Songs like “Typical” and “Spotlight” are upbeat and lively rock tracks to jam to. “Pins and Needles” offer a calmer almost somber side to Mutemath as Meany delicately sings, “And I’m growing fond of broken people/As I see that I am one of them.” While they have many great songs, “Clipping” has to be a personal favorite of mine. Throughout the song, loops of a distorted piano parallel with cheerier sounding piano notes as it builds up to a beautiful violin solo.

 Mutemath’s recent album Vitals is a testament to how much this band has evolved. Vastly different from their previous album Odd Soul, which was more of a soulful/bluesy album, Vitals shows off an invigorated new Mutemath with more synths and a more indie pop vibe. Meany really opens up to fans as his songwriting is more honest than ever on this album. “Composed” talks about trying to find peace during panic attacks while “Used To” deals with letting go of a toxic relationship.

Despite the fully transparent lyrics, there are songs on the album that lighten up the mood. “Monument” for example, is a euphoric celebration of a couple’s love. It is a perfect combination of poppy rhythm and joyful synths.

Filled with optimism and spirit, Mutemath doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. They recently finished touring with Twenty One Pilots and just released a remix album consisting of new versions of songs from Vitals. Mutemath’s hard work and dedication is admirable and well worth the listen.