Paul Meany's voice has always retained clarity in the midst of mayhem. On "Chaos," from MUTEMATH's self-titled debut LP in 2006, he sang "I know you stay true when my world is false / Everything around's breaking down to chaos," while things sputtered and swirled behind him. On "Walking Paranoia" from 2011's Odd Soul, over a tense staccato, he sang, "I am a nervous wreck / Jesus is coming back / Going to catch me at the porno rack / I'm about to have a heart attack." He sounded like he was losing his mind in high definition. A movie of that madness wouldn't have the camera shaking and the colors bleeding; he'd have been freaking out in a well-lit room while the camera locked in on his face.
MUTEMATH's fifth album, Play Dead, is out September 8 (you can pre-order it here) and the two singles the band have released already, "Hit Parade" and "Stroll On," don't engage with disorder like that—the former is a distorted prog romp, the latter all lush R&B-pop. But "War," premiering on Noisey today, has the band inspecting chaos again. The song never settles down, fidgeting between crash-cymbal exclamations and muted, tightly-wound, eight-beat riffs. Meany's voice is terrifyingly soft when he breathes repeatedly in the chorus, "War is in my nature."
In an email to Noisey this morning, Meany either described the song's lyrics or responded to a world on the brink. Probably both: "I keep finding counterpoints to every point and they nag me like a bill collector out to drain me of any currency of optimism. Maybe this constant trial of ideas is life."
Watch the video for "War," directed by Daniel Bowen and cut together by Jakub Blank, at the top of the page.
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