What do you get when three veterans of post-industrial, who were once part of the ranks of bands like Pigface, Chemlab and Die Warzau, join forces and start a post-punk, art rock band? You get muet, self-described as “the sound of American noir” – a title that proves to be very accurate after listening to the album. Based out of Chicago, the trio of Steven Seibold (vocals), Daniel Evans (guitar/bass) and Vince McAley (drums) have just released their first, self-titled, album under the muet name; the digital release is available since March 22nd, while the physical version (both CD and vinyl) will follow shortly on April 12th.
The first track, “Leather Jacket Perfume” catches your attention from the first few seconds, energetic yet somber. Seibold’s vocals are a perfect fit for the music, and this becomes obvious to the listener right away. The next song, “Muscle”, is beautiful on the surface and tragic underneath, the lyrics reminiscent of a heartbroken lover longing for the one person they miss the most. “Muscle” is their first song to get a video, and said video also marks the first time muet performed with all its members together! The sinister quietness of “How It Was” shocked me so much after witnessing the energy of the album’s first two songs that it stopped me in my tracks as I was writing my notes for this review. It’s so quiet it becomes terrifying, and the sporadic vocals only reinforce that feeling. The energetic feeling recovers quickly from that dramatic departure with the catchy “Weirdest Sex”, which I’d say is probably my favourite song on the album. It’s followed by the upbeat “Reach Out and Murder”, which seems like an odd thing to say considering the song title and subject matter, but they manage to pull it off quite well. “Opening Up” makes for another, though less sudden, break from the songs that preceded it, very reminiscent of broken transmission recordings. It leads to a smooth follow-up into “The People are Quiet”, a song that’s a bit more relaxed than the rest of the album, though it still captures the somber, dark atmosphere the album has had so far very well. The rest of the album from this song onwards takes on a more melodious sound, with songs that stick in the back of your mind for different reasons than what you’ve heard of the album previously. “on2u” is another song that has quite a catchy groove; I especially love the guitars on this one! The lyrics bring up the image of someone concocting a satisfying revenge against someone who wronged them. “They Can’t Find Me Here” has an eerily well-chosen title; it sounds pretty much like I’d imagine a silent escape from the outside world feels like. “Her Dad’s Car” is another one of my favourites, and seems to carry on a bit of the atmosphere of the song that preceded it; cold, quiet, worrying, almost as if it’s foreshadowing a life-changing event that you’re not sure how it’ll turn out. “Curve of the Earth” makes for a beautiful finish to the album, haunting enough that by the end of it, you’re left wondering if everything you heard was even real or if it was some sort of fever dream. The good news is, it’s very real.
All in all, I really enjoy this album; as a whole, it flows quite well and sounds amazing, and each song stands up strongly on its own as well. The songs bring lots of inspiration, whether from their atmosphere or the images they conjure. Long story short, this whole album is an aural experience that makes me eager to see what muet has in store for us next! Give it a listen and see for yourself, and buy yourself a CD or record while you’re at it: https://muet.bandcamp.com/