Mutemath – Odd Soul

Mutemath’s third album marks a return to form for the alternative-rock outift, the electric Odd Soul offering a wonderfully entertaining – if eventually unreliable – ebb and flow.

Odd Soul erupts with a bout of punchy, vaguely industrial funk. It’s as if Mutemath have captured a fine blend of both The Black Keys’ and Kasabian’s best elements, imagining a glorious alternative rock hybrid and forging their own allure in the process. The follow-up, Prytania, rumbles with a rollicking insistence, Paul Meany’s wails yet again securing a striking melodic focus amidst the madness. Blood Pressure again finds the band entrenched within gravelly, fuzzed tones, the record’s delectable first half thriving within its own savage paradigm.

Truly, it’s the album’s opening stages that champion Mutemath’s credentials as both an accessible and downright infectious act. Those captivated by the record’s initial inclinations, however, should prepare for a change of pace. Mutemath prove they’re unafraid to appear obtuse, as Odd Soul embarks upon a brave shift from the exhilarating to the excessively elaborate.

Though intriguing enough, the remainder of the album feels assembled haphazardly, presenting a distinct contrast by way of a few laborious jams. It’s a messy junkyard indulgence of spare ideas and lyrics. Suddenly, nothing about the album appears straightforward, nor is there much of an opportunity to come up for air. The record’s sudden density and difficulty betrays what made the record so appealing to begin with, with only Allies – a rhythmic gem – offering some redemption. In occasionally straddling psychedelic tendencies, Mutemath ensure the ‘Odd’ in their album title is more than covered.

The album’s polarising about-face hardly ruins Odd Soul, however. In fact, Mutemath’s moxie should be commended. Odd Soul, despite its various challenges scattered throughout its late stages, does remain entertaining throughout – which, ultimately, should be seen as a victory. Overall, Odd Soul is a solid effort and will likely be embraced as an album easy to slip into, yet difficult to stay with, its appeal owed to early alt-rock brilliance.