Self-described as “electro-alternative-indie,” MUX is a duo based in London whose sound “blends elements of electronica, stoner, trip-hop, krautrock and punk.” That’s a pretty diverse description, but after listening to their four-song debut EP, Can You See Who?, I think I’ve tightened up just exactly what MUX’s music sounds like.
The first side of Can You See Who? features two songs whose titles both reference drugs — “MDMA” and “Gold and Prozac” — and it’s that combination of ecstasy and mood stabilizers which defines the outfit. Think Nine Inch Nails’ less-abrasive, but still up-tempo numbers combined with something like Dizzee Rascal’s “Bonkers.”
The duo is the sort of act you dance to while maybe crying because you’ve done too many drugs, not unlike that emotional catharsis which occurs after drinking an entire bottle of wine while spinning Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” five times in a row.
These are all references to other acts, which is unfortunate, because MUX is really dynamic on their own. The four songs here have some excellent elements to them, and the two sides definitely have an early evening/late night dynamic which defines them. The early evening gloss of “MDMA” is completely contrasted by the crackling near-dissonance of “Stray,” but the slowly-pulsing, low-end throb that winds through both songs makes them definitively of the same artist.
For a band who only just formed this year, MUX is a duo who might not knock it out of the park on their debut, but who certainly have piqued my interest enough to track where they’re headed from here on out.
The vinyl for Can You See Who? sounds really fantastic. The first side is a little too clean for my tastes, and never really kicks quite as intensely as the second, but it’s overall a fairly good pressing. The grime of the second side tracks really comes through on “Teenage Father,” and it demonstrates exactly how much power MUX can kick out.
For the most part, I’m not the hugest fan of 10-inches. They’re a pain to store, and one usually wonders as to why the act or label didn’t just press a 45 RPM 12-inch instead. Still, the presentation for Mux’s four-song EP is fine, although the text — aside from the band’s logo — looks pretty perfunctory.
It’s a basic black record, with the same font on the center labels as the album title and tracklisting, making this seem like the duo was more intent on getting the music out there, and in the hands of fans, than making something which looks particularly striking. The astronaut on the cover is all right, especially floating over the rollercoaster. It certainly does a good job of visually conveying the spaciness and up-down intensity of the MUX sound.
Can You See Who? is available on vinyl from Juno.