Last year’s This Is What Your Mind Imagines featured a bunch of teenage boys about to go off. Like early Husker Du, it bypassed conventional notions of melody and headed straight for pure anger. Nevertheless, every paper in Athens put Muuy Biien on the cover. For DYI they’re going to need to build them a goddamn statue. Only a year on from their debut, Muuy Biien have undergone an evolution nearly as startling as the primordial fish that grew lungs and crawled onto land. It’s a band that is about to make the lazy comparisons of the past—to Savages, to Iceage, to Joy Division, to The Fall—seem ridiculous. It may be all anger & brutality on the surface, but there’s a pop sensibility at its heart, a buoyancy that TIWYMI lacked. That album was a pure laser beam of black & white rage, but DYI finds the band slowing down every so slightly and allowing things into the songs—melody, vulnerability, dynamics, hooks—that up till now you had to look closely to find. Muuy Biien is the real thing. No college degrees, no connections, no future. Kids in their 20’s raised in the Georgia countryside, born to work in fast food—the band members met while all working at fried chicken chain Raisin’ Cane’s, eventually moving in together like some kind of white trash Monkees. But art springs forth from the unlikeliest of places (though you’d think everyone would know by now that being rich in Brooklyn doesn’t give you access to anything besides access. Or excess. Yet for all their antics—getting kicked out of local awards shows, self-mutilations both verbal and physical—the members of Muuy Biien are first and foremost artists. The power of DYI is palpable and real, but so is the sense of craft that hangs over it. Like the latest Laurel Halo, the album closes with a fractured piano instrumental. They might go anywhere from here. ‘She Bursts’ is the song that leaves all their peers in the dust. A coiled, unbearably tense depiction of womanhood that keeps ratcheting up the intensity before concluding in a glorious explosion of stars and white light. Muuy Biien is that rarest of punk bands—someone who’s pissed off at all the right people, including themselves. Frontman Josh Evan’s rage may be scattershot, it may be convulsing in all directions, but in his songs you hear the struggle of someone trying to get it right, reminding themselves to try and hate the powerful first. DYI is the sound of a band learning to rage correctly. Mankind may be a virus, but who do you want to see die first. Between albums, two band members released cassettes of their ambient projects, and sure enough even the most aggressive songs on DYI have all kinds of textures and beauty drifiting below the surface. In Evans, the band has a singer of a once-in-a-generation intensity. He doesn’t just sing, ‘Another white ego / another good gone bad / to overcompensate for what you lack.’ He spits every consonant with contempt. The way he sings ‘Be a man / Do yourself in’ on the album’s title track makes the lines sound like a wish—if the object is going to ‘be a man’ (that tired macho demand of our fathers) then he might as well kill himself. Because to be a man by those standards would make life not worth living. Too melodic, too artistic, to truly be punk. Too engaged with the outside world to be indie. Too good to be true. DYI is the sound of a band exploding with ideas. Stay tuned for the next evolution.
Tracklist: Cyclothymia I / Human Error / White Ego / Melters / What Isn’t / She Bursts (Reprise) / Cyclothymia II / Virus Evolves / Dust / Crispin Noir / Frigid / D.Y.I. / Cyclothymia III
Happy Happy Birthday To Me HHBTM160