Ohio's genre-blurring duo Twenty One Pilots team up with Emotional Roadshow tourmates MUTEMATH on TOPxMM (aka "The MUTEMATH Sessions"). On this EP, five Twenty One Pilots tracks are reinterpreted with MUTEMATH's Vitals-era sonic switch toward atmospheric electronic shimmer. However slight, these new versions strip away some of the polished album production of the originals and showcase Twenty One Pilots' frontman Tyler Joseph's songwriting prowess and vocal ability. Drummer Josh Dun also has a chance to shine with a couple extended drum breaks and jams with the New Orleans quartet. Despite the addition of so many extra musicians to the Twenty One Pilots formula, TOPxMM ends up being more restrained than anything on Blurryface. "Ride" sparkles with MUTEMATH's hypnotic synths, infusing the island-tinged hit with an '80s nocturnal flair. "Tear in My Heart" benefits from a funky Motown spin -- more buoyant than the original -- resulting in a sound similar to Fitz & the Tantrums colliding with the Killers. Blurryface cuts "Heavydirtysoul" and "Lane Boy" feature exhilarating breakdowns between Dun and MUTEMATH, the latter of which closes the EP in frenzied fashion. The only non-LP song that appears on TOPxMM is the Suicide Squad soundtrack hit "Heathens," which is transformed into a haunting and ethereal silhouette of the original. Free of stage gimmicks and studio tricks, TOPxMM reveals that Twenty One Pilots can also excel at control and gravitas with a little help from their friends.
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AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung