A week ago, I had no idea who this band was. I may still be in the dark a bit. This EP may or may not be a great representation of what the band aspires to sound like. Without seeing a band live, it’s hard to judge sometimes. The following is a description of how I felt about the five tracks populating this particular disc (or mp3 download).
Having never heard Mutts music before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. So when the first track, “Terranaut,” came on I was pleasantly surprised to hear a voice alone speaking. Very reminiscent of “At the Bottom of Everything” off Bright Eyes album I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.
The track quickly morphs into something completely different. At first I thought the album was gonna be alt-country based on the first couple bars. Good lord I was WAY off. Mutts owe as much of their sound to bands like Metallica or Pantera as they do to Johnny Cash. But even that comparison only lasts one song.
When discussing a band name, I think these guys really hit the nail on the head. You can pick out a lot of sounds on the record and point to other bands, but Mutts isn’t copying anyone. Just paying homage as most good bands when they’re paying their dues.
I’m going to skip track 2, “Symmetry.” Not because it’s bad, but because I find the next three tracks way more interesting.
For me, the EP really kicks into full gear on the third track, “Gone.” It’s kind of a Black Keys-type blues riff that I think I could honestly see Q101 playing around the clock (as they do with the real Black Keys currently). There’s a lot of screaming on this one. I imagine at a show this is the loudest song from the EP. Loud isn’t something I usually use to describe music that I enjoy, but it works well for this particular song.
Track 4 is “Masquerade.” This is easily my favorite song on the release. The lyrics are a bit funny, but not in a way that makes you laugh out loud. They come off as a bit of a revenge songs lyrics. Maybe this is what Taylor Swift would sound like if she paired up with Karen O. Lots of great keys on this one. I could see jamming out to this in my car (if I had one) driving down LSD in the summer. Maniacal laughter once again at the end of “Masquerade.” I don’t really understand why it keeps popping up, but it doesn’t hurt anything.
EP closer “Junior” has a lot of good lyrics and wordplay. It’s an anti-corporate tirade that also touches on relationship issues between fathers and sons, as well as a jab at the educational system in America.
Overall, I’d give The Tells of Parallels a pretty decent grade. It definitely makes you pay attention to everything going on beneath the surface, but it doesn’t punish you if surface is all you’re looking for. I’ve decided that the band Mutts reminds me of most is Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, specifically the Now I Got Worry period.
I haven’t heard either of Mutts other releases, so I can’t speak to them, but I think with a little work on consistency of tone, they might be capable of putting together a really strong full-length release. I’d love to see these guys live some night. What they might lack in consistency, they more than make up for with balls-to-the-wall enthusiasm.
- Mutts is a trio local to Chicago comprised of: Mike Maimone (keys/vocals), Bob Buckstaff (bass) and Chris Faller (drums).
- Catch Mutts at Bottom Lounge on Friday. Admission is free before 1o p.m.