Previously a vehicle for the solo music of Jérôme Deuson, on aMute’s latest release he expanded his vision into a full-fledged band including Samuel Volan on bass, Thomas Venegoni doubling as guitarist and keyboardist and Stéphne Fedele thumping the skins. Having never heard earlier material, this is my initiation to aMute, a fine band who, if not altogether groundbreaking, forge some sound rock with a mildly psych indie flair, blending electronics and guitars with vivid lyrics.
Deuson also brought in some guests to fill out the record, including Robert Toher, Joseph Costa, Mitchell Akiyama, Bryce Kushnier and Jean-Paul Dessy, all seasoned vets with their own projects. The results are consistent, full of catchy, accessible tunes and a few comely hooks scattered around resulting in a solid, energy-laden document of often understated new rock.
aMute is the kind of band which should garner mass appeal, and if pop radio wasn’t the Stalinesque Clear-Channel monotone bullshit entity that it is, one could imagine them scaling the charts. Alas, we know all too well the barren landscape which is [American] radioland, and musicians such as aMute fall victim to the fascist cul-de-sac of major FM airplay and what those conniving, corporoid fuckwits imagine may or may not be marketable. While I don’t intend this review to be a rather obvious critique of our flaccid pop market here in the States, I find it nearly impossible to avoid rodding an awl through the limp dicks who compose the so-called majors. aMute could be a great success (in that old usage) if only given the opportunity, as they play well-written, well-produced and finely executed songs.
Blending pathos, a little angst and an oxymoronic controlled sense of unpredictability, the band glides through 8 finely wrought passages, each unique but independently recognizable. Characterized by discipline and economy, the songs build and release quite nicely; not in that way that branded so many indie bands of the late 80’s and 90’s (loud, quiet, loud, quiet etc.), but marked rather by a more sophisticated approach to songwriting.
The finale, a song called “Eyelash: Fukt” is a good example of the band’s versatility. It’s a blend of electronica and straight rock influenced by Fennesz and stands in stark contrast to the disc’s opener “Break,” a near-minimal tune with semi-fuzzed vocals and synth-string accompaniment. The contrast outlines the range of aMute, who manage the variations with skill and continuity.
If only radio in the States was worth a shit… 6/10 -- P. Somniferum (15 July, 2009)