ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

MuteMath

Armistice (Teleprompt/Warner Bros.)

Who upset MuteMath? The indie-disco groove of the New Orleans experimental rockers' eponymous 2006 debut has been partially abandoned in favor of something more jagged, jerkier, and driving for their follow-up. The end result, although no less layered than their earlier work, is more focused and spartan, evoking a dash of Kid A Radiohead and weirdly a rawer, ruder Steely Dan. It's not flawless, with the teeny-bop Afrobeat of "Goodbye" waving uninspiring, while "Lost Year" seems like a label-mandated lighter-waver. Then there's the grittier "Clipping," all grinding gears under staccato piano. Whether the vicious crunch of opener "The Nerve" will sit well with the Twilight crowd (brought onboard by the inclusion of MuteMath's oddly Snow Patrol-esque "Spotlight" on the soundtrack) remains to be seen, but this is the point where maturity has overtaken experimentation for experimentation's sake. (2pm, LiveStrong stage.)

***

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