Muuy Biien

D.Y.I. (Do Yourself In)

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On some levels, Atlanta-based group Muuy Biien could be construed as by-the-numbers punk rock. Short tunes made up of snotty shouts, bumbling basslines, and grating guitar lines made up the majority of their 2012 debut LP, This Is What Your Mind Imagines. However, breaking up these blasts of fury every so often were longer passages of subdued textural ambience. The juxtaposition was an unexpected one, and on second album D.Y.I. (Do Yourself In), the dark ambient clouds sometimes seep into the corners of the band's vitriolic punk numbers. The album begins with one of a trio of ambient pieces, "Cyclothymia I." Named after a chronic mood disorder, the trilogy of guitar-based soundscapes is appropriately brooding and ominous, with its ugly wash of guitar sonics spilling into the first few seconds of following track "Human Error," a gnarled robo-punk tune that lands somewhere between early Devo and the Wipers. The jagged guitar lines eventually recede back into a moment of shadowy ambience, adding a sense of disorienting confusion to the already jarring track. This theme flows through the album, giving it a never quite settled feeling. Tunes like "What Isn't" and "Dust" recall the funk backbone and off-kilter songwriting sensibilities of uncategorizable but pigeonholed as punk bands like the Minutemen and the Big Boys, while elsewhere songs are wrapped in echoes of early-'90s Dischord Records dissonance and smarts. Muuy Biien's marriage of experimentalism and nihilistic punk ends up reading far more bleak than open-minded, somehow. Repeated themes of death and hopelessness pop up with slack-jawed apathy, the title track even going so far as to warp the "D.I.Y." or "Do It Yourself" ethos of punk into the far uglier "Do Yourself In," the lyrics of the song only semi-sarcastically encouraging suicide. When these bleak sentiments butt up against gentle strains of droning, processed guitar, the result is strangely off-putting and void of resolution. This unsettling approach, in many ways, is more in line with the spirit of punk rock than just simply playing punk songs. Muuy Biien challenge the expectations of their audience and offer no easy answers or silver linings with D.Y.I. The strange stylistic combinations make its ugly moods loom even heavier, and ultimately make far deeper an impression than either element would have presented on its own.

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