February 16, 2016

Premiere: Mutes' Hook-Laden Negation "Less Existence"

Mutes -- Inertia EP (detail)

Mutable Birmingham, England guitar band Mutes returns this month with an appealing new set that pushes out against the project's stylistic boundaries. Indeed, mastermind James Mutes jokes the short collection Inertia should have been called James Gets A Synth. But despite an IDM-acknowledging introductory track and some prominent electronic flourishes throughout, synth isn't actually the hallmark of the record: it's acoustic guitar. Inertia foregrounds James' acoustic playing in the delightful, finger-picked and delicately buzzing "Soft Spots" as well as the easy strummer "Killing Speed." We are pleased to premiere for you today the deceptively bright track "Less Existence." The acoustic-led tune touts the aforementioned electronic flourishes as well as vocal harmonies, and it is the most uptempo and groovy spot on the EP. The breezy vocal melody -- and particularly the head-bobbing, hook-laden negation "...the problem is I don't exist..." -- recalls the strong songs long-gone Philadelphia indie heroes Mazarin (recently reincarnated as the current and delightful concern Light Heat) proferred at the turn of the century. Inertia also boasts dazzling ambient passages, and strings a number of these together to form the cinematic "Long Wave Goodbye," which is so evocative a closer you can easily imagine production credits floating upwards across the picture plane. The most haunting track on the EP might be the shimmering, crookedly waltzing mood piece "Incidental Host."

It bears mentioning that Inertia is a solo collection. While James has built up a stable of players to support his songwriting over the last year or two (including the great Junior Laidley of Brit guitar-pop titans Johnny Foreigner) Mutes has evolved into a project that can and will change shape around the songwriter, in much the same way our beloved Lilys is mastermind Kurt Heasley and a rotating cast. So with its latest release Inertia, Mutes reverts back to its original sole proprietorship, and -- interestingly -- in doing so the music Inertia presents is reminiscent of the act's persistently dreamy, self-titled debut EP from 2014. Inertia will be self-released as a digital download Feb. 23, and digital pre-orders are already available via Bandcamp right here. Mutes begins recording a new full-band album this week in London, and all proceeds of the sale of Inertia help bankroll the new album sessions. James Mutes will perform a solo set to open the mighty Ringo Deathstarr's March 9 show in Birmingham; Clicky Clicky faves Yr Poetry, the collaboration of Johnny Foreigner principals Alexei Berrow and the aforementioned Mr. Laidley, is also on this incredible bill. Stream "Less Existence" via the embed below.

Mutes: Bandcamp | Facebook

Prior Mutes Coverage:
Show Us Yours #28: Mutes
Today's Hotness: Mutes
Today's Hotness: Mutes
Today's Hotness: Mutes

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