October 26, 2016

Muuy Biien: Age of Uncertainty Review

(Autumn Tone) With cover art featuring disembodied faces blended into a grainy charcoal drawing, Muuy Biien’s third album looks an awful lot like it sounds. Each song is a slow-burning mantra that draws strength from a reductionist approach. A carnal drive lies at the heart of every melody and seductive vocal inflection, as singer Joshua Evans’ voice hangs in a balance of laid-back paranoia played at half-speed. Opener “Moral Compass” jumps to life, revealing a balance of sludge and well-calibrated structure.

Muuy Biien isn’t throwing any surprise punches with Age of Uncertainty. But the group has mastered its chemistry. “Another Chore” is a perfectly ugly slab of noise and dub percolating under a plodding bass line. Sleazy tones of fuzzed-out bass and distorted guitars conjure an ominous sound in “The Clocks” and “Skeleton Tissue,” while “Robbed” and the album’s title track pick up a spaghetti Western ambiance. “Bitter Blessings” unfolds like a corroded garage-rock rant steeped in blues and primitive industrial music’s murky tones.

Guitarists Xander Witt and Robbie Rapp are Age of Uncertainty’s secret weapons. The album is dark and dense, and prone to reaching an intense pitch before plunging deeper into shadowy terrain. As a result, Muuy Biien remains as nebulous as ever. The group seems content to keep exploring the edges of what post-punk is, and what it can be in a modern context.