Mutoid Men - Mutoid World [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Mutoid Men

Mutoid World [12 inch] (2010)


Between their name, bizarre live getup and Bay Area connection, I'd have assumed Mutoid Men were some sort of esoteric, new wave-y take on pop-punk à la the Network or something. Save some spacey synth washes here and there, that really isn't the case at all.

Instead, this, the newest endeavor from ex-Latterman/current RVIVR vocalist/guitarist Matt Canino and ex-Jawbreaker bassist Chris Bauermeister, is not quite an unfurled, emotional take on socially aware pop-punk. Unlike Shorebirds, the last band the two paired up in, it's something a little bit different and unexpected. In fact, it's often hard to label Mutoid World, the band's--engagingly decorated and in gatefold form--debut 12" full-length, pop-punk at all, really. Sure, there's a little bit of Devo-style Moog--sorry, guys--giving the songs a bounce and extra flavor, but this is more like super lively, occasionally Replacements-esque romping and howling with a rock'n'roll and slight SST ("Pi") vibe. The band are clearly at their best when mixing it up, though, given the more fuzzed-out, ambitious guitar tones and vocal adventurism in the Hot Snakes-run-through-hot-coals-isms of "Two Become One."

I can't quite tell who's doing the lead vocals here, but it's sort of the sharp, damaged yelp you might actually get from a Glass and Ashes album sometimes. It can't be Canino, because you can definitely tell it is him providing those enthusiastic "da-dee-da-da"s in "Big Sign" and some traded-off lines in the raw rock of "Saturn." It may be Moog operator Joey at the lead vocal helm, or maybe even Bauermeister. And speaking of him, if you're dying for Bauermeister to recall his Jawbreaker days at all, well, you get it once maybe--closer "Robot Dreams" and its more restrained, dragging guitar distortion we all love. But you really shouldn't visit Mutoid World with those expectations.

Either way, this is perhaps the weirdest--to a certain extent, anyway--and most unbridled music we've heard from either Canino or Bauermeister. What results is a pretty decent and surprisingly condensed hybrid of rock'n'roll swagger, punk simplicity and a few hermetic details.

Mutoid World