Review: Mukaizake – Unknown Knowns

The somewhat awkwardly-named Australian act Mukaizake are exponents of the often equally awkward sub-genre of “math rock”. Any concerns at this stage though, should be alleviated since ‘Unknown Knowns’ is full to the brim with hooks and an emphasis on songwriting.

Single ‘The Yeah Conditioner’ combines their complicated guitar shapes with the spirit and passion of a bar band; like Springsteen indulging a hitherto unknown passion for grunge and post-rock. ‘Rule Norse’ piles on layer upon layer of heavy guitars but these layers are also supremely melodic and there are some impressive harmonies on show too. In a not totally dissimilar way, the pummeling riffs propelling to ‘Corporal Steam’ are offset by emotional vocals. No less impressive are ‘Frisbee’ (featuring the line “there’s a parachute inside your soul”) and the relatively gentle double salvo of ‘My Friend Flicker’ and ‘Slack Bees’.

The problem with many math rock artists is that they tend to value technical ability over coherence. Comprising six excellent tracks (and no makeweights) ‘Unknown Knowns’ shows that beneath complex time signatures it is possible to craft music that is intelligent, exhilarating and addictive.

Web Sites:
Mukaizake MySpace
Hidden Shoal Label and Shop Site

Further Listening:
HIJK, The Mitchells

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