Mutiny on the Bounty - Danger Mouth
Record Label: New Romance For Kids
Release Date: June 1, 2009
Like other albums which I have covered late, Mutiny on the Bounty’s Danger Mouth is simply too good an album to be left without a staff review. Although it is one of a very great lot of albums which combine math rock with post-hardcore, Danger Mouth does it in a way that teems with uniqueness, revealing Mutiny on the Bounty as the adept songwriters and theme crafters that they are. Genre influences are certainly in no short supply, as I could spend the full length of this review highlighting examples of all kinds of things from every track. We’ll get to those in a second, as the foundational attributes of the album do a fantastic job of setting the tone and keeping the smorgasbord of influences from becoming a disorganized mess.
The most conspicuous of these are the aforementioned; math rock and post-hardcore. But what exactly is their significance when combined? Contemporary math rock in its standard vanilla flavor typically uses slower rock tempos while focusing on intricate riffs that have strange time signatures. Mutiny on the Bounty have stripped away the restrictive tempo norms and slapped on a more exciting punk-based model to rev their musical engines with. Ordinarily this could clash with the guitar’s already rapid pace, but it is with this that Mutiny on the Bounty let their mastery be revealed. They have successfully managed to tone down the guitar work without losing a single speck of melodic interest, all the while transforming the bass and rhythm sections into a charging juggernaut with a low center of gravity that makes it unstoppable. What is even more intriguing about this model is how the lead guitars serve as a rudder between tempo changes for the lower instrumental powerhouse created by the rhythm, bass, and percussion, which is what gives the band so much stylistic freedom in every track.
Despite the tremendous harmony that is continuous in the instrumental framework, the single centralizing foundational component of Danger Mouth is the vocals. Mutiny on the Bounty have made yet another brilliant decision in choosing the more traditional vocals of post-hardcore: melodically neutral power-yelling a la Sugartown Cabaret, and with the discordantly harmonizing vocal inflections of multiple members, no less. Their straightforward rhythmic nature bolsters the catchiness of the instruments while at the same time reining them in and giving each track a cohesive direction that would not exist otherwise, and the scant amount of singing prevents the album from being melodically overbearing.
As previously stated, the end products of such a dynamic foundation result in an immense amount of versatility and diversity of influence between tracks. The opener, “Call Me Cheesus” combines At the Drive-In’s catchiness with the stuttering guitar work And So I Watch You From Afar is known for. The first verse of “Give Me Linux…” has a riff and beat taken straight from the pop-punk textbook, which combines wonderfully with the opening riff as the track continues. “Continents” is something one might expect from Funeral for a Friend, again spliced with the math rock for an interesting twist. “The Art of Escapology” takes the more expected The Fall of Troy approach from Mutiny, and “Cruz Candelaria” sounds like a more heavy and straightforward The Mars Volta. This is just the first half of the album, and the second half performs equally well in terms of presenting a wide range of influences.
With any luck, 2012 will be a big year for Mutiny on the Bounty, as it is bands like them who have a passion for a defined sound while still making it innovative that will rise to the top among serious post-hardcore fans. Danger Mouth is indeed worthy of attention, yours and mine, which I hope this review will give them. There is no doubt that Mutiny will be able to capitalize on that attention in whatever musical endeavors await them.