Thursday, October 29, 2009

More Mutating, Please

How Y'All Doin..?..
Mutant Press

Mutant Press leader Mr. Yummy is clearly a confident guy. You don't write yourself your own anthem without being able to back it up. Yummy isn't totally without justification. Clever changes like the diminished-chord chorus of "Touching Tongues" show some musical savvy; the band's overall hybrid of tinny keyboards and butt-rock guitars is not displeasing. There's a lot of good melodies to be found on this disc, and it places ("Tippin & Toolin") they really come together with good choruses and clever guitar. For a whole 16 tracks though, Mutant Press need more from the rhythm section than canned drums and looped-sounding bass riffs. The longer jams as on "You Name Is Mud" are leaden with undeveloped rhythms, and a brace of randomly chosen and flatly performed covers stretches out How Y'All Doin..?.. long past its natural ending point.

The more focused, lyric-based songs work better with the cookie-cutter drum machine sound. "G.B.J." with its Beach Boys allusion is an effective three-minute dance song. The use of dropped-in samples here and there is sometimes more interesting than the instruments proper. The vocal production style, with its multi-tracked leads, makes Mr. Yummy sound pretty cool. The sensibility that layers discount synths much bigger in the mix than guitar shredding bits is a good one. Ultimately though there's not enough rhythmic variety here for a whole 16-track album. The drum machines really grind you down when they're this continuous and unvaried. What could be cool extended guitar passages on "N.Y.C." and "Dancing in the Margin of Error" get done in by the lack of supporting development from the drums and bass.

Mutant Press credits four musicians in their sleeve notes, so it's entirely possible that live they're a less claustrophobic listen. Find out November 1st at the Parlor, or the 12th at Headhunter's.

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