New Interpol side project Muzz basks in unpredictability on its debut album | Music Review | Chicago Reader

New Interpol side project Muzz basks in unpredictability on its debut album 

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click to enlarge Muzz


Driely S.

On their new self-titled debut album, Muzz simultaneously challenge listeners and envelop them in gentle, sublime atmospheres. The New York-based trio formed out of the long friendship of vocalist and guitarist Paul Banks (Interpol), multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaufman (Bonny Light Horseman), and drummer Matt Barrick (Jonathan Fire*Eater). Individually, these artists are known for their musical malleability, and their chemistry together is undeniable. Banks is a master at concocting disarmingly murky anthems tinged with just the right amount of melodrama, and in Muzz he leans into malaise with precision. The album’s opening track, “Bad Feeling,” sets the tone with its immersive rumination and wistful melodies, while “Evergreen” meanders experimentally but never strays too far from total sonic ecstasy. Lead single “Red Western Sky” embodies the band’s allure: cinematic soundscapes give way to exhilarating buildups and mercurial, borderline cosmic harmonies. The delicate, elegantly melancholy piano on “Broken Tambourine” makes the light-hearted, jovial “Knuckleduster” the perfect follow-up. The rhythmic dexterity of “Chubby Checker” gives it an insatiable energy that resonates beyond the track’s less than three-minute length. “Summer Love” is simple in its longing, and “All Is Dead to Me'' feels more resilient than its title lets on. Though Muzz has no overall theme, it conjures up softness, warmth, and a bit of mystery. The band’s biggest asset is their unpredictability, whether their songs are full of flowery euphony or somber confessions. These veteran musicians have crafted a gleaming epistle of sophisticated pop art—Muzz have raised the bar for indie rock.   v

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