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RESET EP (2004)
Reset EP - Click to view!There's been a lot of hype generated in the Christian music industry with the arrival of Mute Math. Some could say it's due to the band's past; Paul Meany and Darren King were members of the short-lived electrical rock band Earthsuit, which brought added diversity to the already eclectic "genre." When the band disbanded, Meany had to rethink his concept of music and experience a degree of healing in order for music to re-enter the picture. But when the time came, he generated melodies simply for therapeutic and emotional pleasure. Such tunes developed into the Reset EP, Mute Math's first nationwide release.

Perhaps it is that emotional toil that makes this recording so enjoyable. "Control" opens the album on the strongest note of positive, progressive rock. Meany's vocals pierce with distinct authority and clarity reminiscent of his Earthsuit days. The drumbeat keeps the keys and guitars from growing mushy and depressed. It also holds some of the best imagery: "In a parachute to glide / I am captive in your sky / Surrender has somehow become so beautiful." If any song off of the album is a candidate for becoming a radio single, this one is it.

Reminiscent of Earthsuit's "White Horse" in theme and word choice is the song "Peculiar People." The words become a repetitive mantra of reminder that "we are peculiar people." This tune holds the most reggae-rock sound of the entire album, with Meany's vocals pairing with light harmonies that immediately remind the listener of a late-night dance fest in a tropical location-or perhaps in a crowded, cultural city in Louisiana. The music, not the lyrics, keeps this song dancing in the limelight. Music also proves to be crucial in "Plan B." Listeners enter the club atmosphere again as Meany manipulates the lyrics to fit the rhythmic flow, repeating, "mend it all," lending a distinct, trancelike sound to the track. And of course, music is the entire strength of the song "Reset," the most surprising song on the album. A single guitar riff introduces the drums and various keyboard sampling. It even offers a set of synthesized strings to chill the feel to a choral concerto before diving into diverse electric drums. Capturing a slick beat that would be welcome on the floor of any rave, "Reset" succeeds in allowing a moment of pause between lyrics. I hope the full-length release contains additional moments where lyrics take a bow to musical experimentation.

A haunting yet healing song is "OK," a tune allowing a moment to reflect on God's redemptive touch. Meany sings, "Your precious words intoxicate / a heart that aches, it's ok." God has become humanity's embrace, ready to encompass anyone who draws toward Him. This pop ballad has the potential to soothe even the hardened heart. The drums and keys reinforce the movement of reflection and thanksgiving.

Overall, I would say a lot of the media hype is merited. This is an album grounded in musical experimentation, at least when it's compared to the other albums being released in the Christian market. While the lyrics don't make it out of the ballpark, the music itself compensates quite nicely. The members of Mute Math are musicians of high-caliber, and their Reset EP might be resetting a lot of opinions within the CCM machine on what makes a stellar recording.
- Hollie Stewart
October 2004
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