Review: Mutemath’s ‘Vitals’

November was a good month for music, both right here at home and abroad. Local band We Are The City released their album Above Club, which I reviewed earlier this month here. On the same day Mutemath released their first album in four years, Vitals. Here’s a brief rundown of the album and why you should check it out.

Hailing from New Orleans, one of the most musically influential cities in North America, Mutemath produces an intricate blend of progressive rock seasoned with experimental sounds and just enough of that catchy mainstream influence to make tapping your feet irresistible.

In 2007 my sister came back from the now defunct Virgin music festival raving about this band that blew her away live. Their stage presence has an insatiable energy that leaves their performances unparalleled in today’s live music environment. Since then, the band has released three full-length albums that have remained in heavy rotation in my music library and their status on my “can’t miss live” list is static.

‘Vitals’ is the band’s fourth studio album -one that was four years in the making. I must say I’m glad they took their time. It includes a well-balanced mix of familiar sounding tracks as well as more exploratory ones. Mutemath’s classic hard-rocking style of heavy guitar tones, omnipresent percussion, and chorus-like vocals are present in tracks like Stratosphere and Used To, but the band also dives into new territory on more synthesizer-driven and poppy hook-riddled tracks like Light Up. Of course, a Mutemath album wouldn’t be complete without a instrumental track or two that plays out like one phenomenal breakdown; you can really envision the band vibing together on stage while you’re listening to the title track Vitals or Bulletproof.

The entire album has a more upbeat feel to it than previous releases. Buried within a few of the tracks is a definite nod to the disco era but it doesn’t disappoint fans in pursuit of King’s incredible drumming style. Meany’s lyrics and vocal performances are exceptionally vibrant, especially catching your attention on tracks such as Light Up.

I’d be lying if I said I’d be okay with the band taking another lengthy hiatus between albums, but if it turns out this well the fifth time around I’d be more than pleased. In the mean time, I’m quite confident Vitals has the staying power to hold me over until the next release. Now if only they toured a bit more.

Sample a select few tracks from Vitals on the band’s Soundcloud page here, buy the album from your choice of options on the band’s website here, and absolutely check out a live performance if you’ll be within a 100km radius of any of the band’s upcoming tour dates here.

James is a recent graduate of the Marketing Communications program at BCIT, and is extending his time at the institute to earn his BBA. He currently lives in Helsinki, Finland where he is studying for a semester at the Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

jamesdouglasflory@gmail.com