The Seattle musical duo Rest as Mutes, made up of two guys named Adam and Jason have each been making and playing music around the Seattle area since the turn of this century. The pair met when Adam was playing in a band called Masks Phantoms and Jason was in a band called Juhu Beach. They played for a time together in the psych-folk project Yonderlow. Each of them has also done solo projects both in music and documentary film making.
But most of that is in the past and Rest as Mutes is their current recording project and their debut record There Has to be a Somewhere is a kitchen sink of much of the band’s previous fiddling about. Its post punk and electronic elements meld with psychedelic folksy pop and delirious melancholic lo-fi pop.
There Has to be a Somewhere is like a musical flea market and each of the six songs is a radically different stall that sounds nothing like the stall on either side. I struggled to find any sort of coherence linking the songs together, some consistency, which I would get onto the trail of and then wonder if I was just trying to make sense of the fact that I was just fully immersed in the strange beauty that the record has to offer at each turn.
We open upon the nine-minute “We Could Follow the Coast” a dust storm of swirling synths and click-track drum beats and a slightly jangly riff. The vocals hide out in the hazy background, but the song also adds sound bites which take the forefront and help to advance the plot so to speak, or drive home the meaning of the song in place of any sort of clearly sung lyrics. Next we move into the very psychedelic guitar-synth “Nary Does a Man” which as it moves along over nine minutes gets a bit weird in a Tobin Sprout lo-fi way.
Rest as Mutes quiet things down later on the mellow and thirteen-minute long Sparklehorse meets Brian Eno “This isn't the Jesus You Know.” It seems a bit too long for its own good. It doesn’t really offer up any reason to keep listening after some time unless you have the record on as background noise. It collapses into a very simple and quite by now slightly overdone field of noise. In many ways this same misfortunes befalls “You Were” until one gets to the juicier bits of searing guitar in the middle, before the song once again retreats into cutting and pasting ethereal soundscapes and bits of voices.
There are many delights in the early half of There Has to be a Somewhere, however after a time thirteen minutes of looped synths, tape hiss and sound clips of talking heads or Baptist preachers just gets a little redundant. However when these guys are making music with real instruments they sound like serious contenders. Recommended.
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