Why not open up 2013 with a bang? And by bang, I mean 8-bit video game soundtrack-infused punk rock basement band sort of bang. Math the Band is a duo formed in Massachusetts (now residing in Rhode Island) that specializes in putting out a hefty amount of albums that feature a hefty amount of songs you can mosh to. In the group’s 10 year existence, they’ve put out a total of 15 albums and EP’s that all have one thing in common: they make you want to jump, head bang, and possibly dive through a second floor window just for the sake of being able to say you’ve done it. Math the Band keeps their unique sound in this LP, and it will most likely tire you out by the time you are through with it. The blend of hardcore punk and electronic indie music heard in Get Real is a possible beacon as to what the future of the music industry will be like; weird but strangely satisfying.
Get Real opens up with “Positive Stress”, and be cautioned that there is no build up. The track just explodes into a synth-blanketed yelling punk song. It’s the type of song that you could picture hipster kids singing along to during a Friday night concert on the second floor of a coffeehouse. “Bad Jokes” takes the average “loud quiet” dynamic and injects it with every type of steroid you could find. Another one that induces “dancing” (or an embarrassing combination of shaking that you call “dancing”), the power is just driving. It leads into “Mission Statement”, which features vocal parts strangely comparable to Matt & Kim, and is overwhelmingly hooky and intense. The happily named “I Hope You Die” is up next, and it carries a poppy build up that takes up the first half of the song (mind you it’s only a 2-minute song) and just erupts into a jammy, beeping storm of synths and keys. “Stay Real (Sock it to me Satan)” is another loud and intense mosher song that opens up with none other than the ‘thumb war’ rhyme. It’s one of the longest tracks on the album, at a bold 2 minutes and 58 seconds. This song makes me wish that all of their songs were just a tad longer, with the band showing a mastery of multiple verses, choruses, and bridges on this one. “Guts” continues on as a part 2 of sorts to “Stay Real”, and it seems to be one of the more passionate and thrash-ful songs on the album. The track features more yelling and explosions and swearing than ever before! (or at least the repetition of the line “what the f**k man” grabbed my attention).
“Hey Alright” opens up with menu start-up SFX for this video game overdub, along with a nice break down of sorts that goes back and forth between in your face and stuttery short beats capped with claps. It is followed by “Down”, which has even-quicker-than-usual vocals and fast, booming chord changes. Another one that has a good verse, chorus, bridge back and forth, this track is definitely one to check out. “Four to Six” feels extra punky, with a feedback opening and another round of intense vocal tracks. But don’t worry, it’s still very blippy. “Nahh” is a stuttery, and quickly transitioning song. It has an awkward lead and drum combination that mix together in a strange way but end up adding to the track in an unexpected way. “Brand New Physics” has more of an indie than punk feel, but the same intensity still carries over. The heavy distortion is replaced on this one with multiple synth basses and key parts, but the hard rock drum part keeps the sound consistent to the rest of the album.
“Dead Physical” is up next, with a fog of noise coming right at the song’s opening. The beeping comes in at a much faster pace, not far from the speed of banjo picking on any given high energy folk song. This one also has a strong, rock-influenced performance from the rhythm section. “One 45” has a poppy and upbeat feel, and the lyrics contribute to that. This one is another gem that you should be sure to check out. Up next is title track “Get Real”, which opens with another impressive and exaggerated version of loud-quiet dynamics. This song puts more of an emphasis on loops and effects than heard before on the album, but heard more often on earlier material. The album is then closed out with “Horses”, a song that has a Math the Band spin on almost-arena rock, and “The First Ten Years” which is easily interpreted as the band looking back on their existence to this point in their stereotypical, forceful and powerful way.
Math the Band sure is something. It’s a broad sentence, but it’ll have to do. The duo is so unique and powerful that it is hard to describe. The pure intensity of the album is just a small expression of these two, seen in their injury-ridden live shows (NPR reported that they broke bones and needed stitches from several live performances that they simply danced too hard). The group clearly gives you a lot to think about, since they made us pull out our longest review to date. Math the Band’s Get Real is able to score 88/100 thanks to its punky techno weirdness, and you can get it now. Oh…and happy New Year.
Get Real Tracklisting:
- Positive Stress
- Bad Jokes
- Mission Statement
- I Hope You Die
- Stay Real (Sock it to me Satan)
- Hey Alright
- Four to Six
- Brand New Physics
- Dead Physical
- One 45
- Get Real
- The First Ten Years