Caught by the Muzz – new project from Interpol’s Paul Banks
While the lumpen moniker Muzz is the kind of thing you’d expect to find at an early heat of a battle of the bands, this outfit is actually a supergroup of sorts. Paul Banks of Interpol is the marquee name, who has already released solo material as Julian Plenti, plus an unlikely collaboration with RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan. He is joined by Matt Barrick, drummer for The Walkmen and the hugely influential Jonathan Fire*Eater, who were New York city cult heroes well before The Strokes and Interpol and their ilk rose to international prominence. Josh Kaufman, who has produced The National and War on Drugs, completes the trio.
The most striking thing about Muzz is that they sound absolutely nothing like Interpol. Banks’s gentler vocals embellishes a much more mellow and laidback aesthetic. The minimal Bad Feeling brilliantly opens proceedings. Red Western Sky is another highlight, a grandiose slice of melancholic pop that The National would be proud to call their own. On the more propulsive Knuckleduster, we get a real sense that this is the same drummer who delivered a jaw-dropping performance on The Rat by The Walkmen.
While Muzz is a pleasant affair, it is also slightly underwhelming. This is not one of those albums like the mercurial Minor Victories collaboration (Slowdive, Mogwai, Editors) that became so much more than the sum of its parts and knocked listeners for six. However, this intriguing project will undoubtedly be of interest to many fans.