“Aligning stars that you wait for
Always know if you’re holding back
Don’t slow yourself down anymore

We watch the days fly
While all the years try
Telling us something
Don’t waste a whole life
On just a half try

It’s all or nothing.”

~All Or Nothing 
Mutemath, Odd SOul

Whenever I tell people I’m into music, I have to do it somewhat sheepishly, bracing for what comes next. The natural follow-up question is usually some variant of “Well, who are your favorite artists?” and I think this is one of the most difficult questions to answer. My favorite today? My favorite who are active in this decade? My favorites from all-time? It all depends, and I cannot be asked to choose, out of fear of leaving out some great influence. Should it be favorite as defined as who you listen to the most in times of aimless soundtracking??

If we’re going by the latter definition, I’d unquestionably have to say Mutemath, as well as recommend them to any listener of rock music who has not yet uncovered them. I’ve listened to this band for close to a decade now (dammit, time!!!) and have only grown more attached to and impressed by their sound. The newest LP “Vitals” is a significant addition to their discography, reaching the top five of the alternative and rock charts, meaning any music fan who pays attention to new, big and happening bands ought to have come across them in some manner by now. 
I’ve spent enough time with them to issue this decree: “Odd Soul” is their best record. It’s the most eccentric. It’s their most assertive. It’s the record where they take risks as musicians, as a band and as writers, unafraid to be aggressive and loud and weird. It is a one-way, non-stop train to Groove City, no matter what kind of mood I’m in when I choose to play it.

When it debuted in 2011, I devoured it from start to finish, and it’s never gotten old. It’s never gotten tired, and the older I get, the more familiar its themes start to feel. It has an over-arching narrative of being yourself and pushing yourself to the limits, denying the doubts and scrubbing the haters from your mind, buoyed by the best drumming Darren King ever laid down and these proggy, spacey guitar riffs that just hammer on and on and on. From the off-beat senses of the intro into the discoesque “Prytania,” through the moody melodic “Cavalries,” this is an album where you can press play and let it go, riding it out until those gorgeous echoing synths closing “In No Time” fade out.

It’s become one of my go-to pick-me-ups for when I am feeling down on myself, or when the general malaise of a workday or life sets in. Because those moments are going to happen, those feelings are going to be unavoidable in the constant reviewing conducted by the emotional mind, but they do not need to rule the day. Instead of running from what hurts, what lurks, what is dark, we can can explore and wonder about and even celebrate the odd soul. We all have one.

“I was once a son, now I’m on my own
Wade through everyone and I’ve got myself to show
The trials and tribulations seem to always track me down
I’ll ride off into the sunset and try me another town

I’m an odd soul
Ah, yes an odd soul,
Walking side roads
‘Cause that’s the only way I know.

~Odd Soul 
Mutemath, Odd Soul