Muzz – Muzz
In a year of drastic change within the music industry, one of 2020’s newest bands, Muzz, have quietly formed and released an eponymous debut album. Interpol’s Paul Banks leads the way, with the trio completed by multi-instrumentalist and producer Josh Kaufman (of Bonny Light Horseman) and Matt Barrick (drummer of The Walkmen, among others). Together they have created a collective passion project with several years in the making. For a self-coined “supergroup”, Muzz is not at all flashy; instead, it’s a familiar yet refreshing creative expression inspired by 70s classic rock with a hint of Americana.
The record opens with Bad Feeling, setting the scene with a relaxed tempo and sigh-like sound before breaking into a surprise jazzy and shimmering horn-filled outro. This laidback feel continues throughout the next few tracks (and mostly the whole album). Evergreen shows off their production’s attention to detail – it’s electronic and melancholic – whilst Red Western Sky picks up the pace with some interesting instrumental layers comprised of horns and organ in a nearly celebratory fashion. Psychedelic tracks like Patchouli and Summer Love have a haunting quality and can be appreciated for their composition, even if they rarely dare to leave their bubble of familiar notes: they risk fading into background music.
With the band aiming for a “cosmic” feel, their album certainly twinkles and feels ethereal in places – especially with the organ, light drumming and lyrics such as “I watch you dream, it’s heavenly”. However, Muzz can border on sounding too mellow. Its pace livens up in tracks like Knuckleduster and How Many Days features an impressive expanse of electric guitar and jazz-beat drumming. The album demonstrates some versatility, but overall there’s a collective determinedness to stick to the brooding and reflective. On closer inspection, the lyrics, which all three members contributed to, reveal personal, poetic and cryptic reflection.
The term “muzz” has been used by Kaufman to describe the texture of sound in older recordings; indeed, Muzz achieves an almost vintage feel in this streamlined, sophisticated album. Far from the post-punk of Interpol and although closer to Kaufman’s work on bands like The War on Drugs, here we have gravelly vocals alongside delicate guitar slides that proudly belong to a brand-new band. It may not be for everyone, and the layered instrumental flair might need to be listened to closely, but ultimately, it’s an uncompromising new output created by three very skilled artists collaborating and having fun with the music they are truly passionate about.
Muzz is released on 5th June 2020. For further information or to order the album visit Muzz’s website here.
Watch the video for the Knuckleduster here: