It is clear from Starvation Age that Mutes have come a long way since the days of James Brown recording in his bedroom. The now four piece band from Birmingham take the conventional rulebook and throw it out of the window with their second EP. Coupling melodic and heavy guitar solos alike in the same song is not an easy task, but Mutes ignore this fact and carry on regardless, creating a record that resembles a slightly amateur Indie band doing the pub circuit.
The record opens with Boyish, with a simple, repetitive guitar riff and barely audible vocals. As the song builds it attempts to add musical layers until it transforms into a slightly heavier, more Indie style track. But this isn’t a saving grace at this point. As opening songs go, it is rather forgettable.
Holy Terror is a rather anticlimactic tune, as the first minute and a half have the makings of a great, catchy Indie ballad. But true to form, the unexpected occurs and it soon descends into a slow melancholic drone which is far from in keeping with the rest of the song. This is a shame because it has the potential to be great, with a bit of fine tuning.
This isn’t to say that there is anything wrong with a calm melodic tune, far from it as Memory Serves shows. The echoing harmonies and haunting guitar complement each other beautifully, bringing deeper, depressing tones to the record. It is hindered however by the lack of crisp sound on the guitar and vocals. Under this same umbrella, Kissing Trees also finds itself a little lost in this EP. Despite having a stripped back quality, it has no vocals and almost sounds like a teenager practising the guitar in their bedroom. It serves no real purpose on this EP.
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The eponymous record Starvation Age lacks any kind of impact, much like the rest of this record it has an unfortunate repetitive guitar with amateur sounding vocals. It fades into the background and doesn’t beg or scream to be listened to. The mass of guitar riffs all jumbled together at the end turn out to be an unfortunate noise on the listener.
Mutes are a work in progress. There doesn’t seem to be a particular style and it leads to a confusing outcome. However, while there appears to be a clear talent within the band this EP is not the release to showcase it.
Starvation Age is out now on One Note Forever records.
The full track listing for the EP is as follows…