Pins and Needles
A jittery, relentless mood animates the tracks on Armistice, MuteMath’s sophomore album. If the Christian-rooted quartet’s debut album displayed an unusual degree of rhythmic sophistication, this release pushes the grooves into almost avant garde territory, inviting comparisons with the Talking Heads’ Remain In Light for sheer boldness. Armistice veers from the spongy, dub-like throb of “Backfire” to the ominous military trudge of “Burden” and the choppy, high-gloss funk of the title tune, embellishing its beats with pulsating synths and stabbing guitar lines. Singer Paul Meany fully embraces his role as a dance-floor prophet, probing at modern spiritual maladies in “The Nerve” and “No Response.” The softer moments here are surprisingly effective; “Pins and Needles” has a languid jazz feel, while “Lost Year” dispenses with electronica trappings in favor of piano balladry. The kinetic “Spotlight” — used to telling effect on the Twilight film soundtrack — sums up the barrier-challenging spirit of the album.