Muuy Biien at Red & Black

You wouldn’t be blamed for assuming a group like Muuy Biien is full of pretentious pricks. Their general persona is built around a now infamous incident of vocalist Joshua Evans blatantly denouncing the band’s recognition for “Best Punk/Hardcore” band at the 2013 Flagpole Athens Music Awards. Its new release’s artwork even features a lifeless, hanging body. In fact, the general consensus on Muuy Biien is so apparent that the group itself is aware of its burdensome presence.

“People see you on stage and they don’t know what you’re really like,” says drummer Jacob Lake. “People would think that Josh was a dick head or something and then meet him and be like, ‘You’re the sweetest boy I know.’”

“Sweet” isn’t exactly an adjective one would affiliate with the leader of a punk group, but Evans, along with the rest of the band, is surprisingly polite and in no way hostile. The lead singer of Muuy Biien you’ll meet on the street isn’t the lead singer of Muuy Biien many saw “accept” an accolade at Flagpole’s last ceremony. Unlike the general public, Evans knows the episode was nothing more than a nonsensical stunt.

“I was just bored,” he says. “I got drunk, that’s obvious. It was totally just me being silly and ridiculous.”

His castigation of the ordinance may have been a gag, but don’t get the wrong idea — Evans hopes it at least acted as a weeding process for people who wouldn’t appreciate his music.

“I feel like anyone who would hear that and think that was a dick move or ‘f*** that’ probably shouldn’t be listening to it anyway,” says Evans.

You wouldn’t guess a group like Muuy Biien to have such a sense of humor, whose new album, D.Y.I, is overtly aggressive before the music even begins. In fact, the album’s title is only a half-trenchant suggestion to “do yourself in.” Such a dark proclamation may be easy to associate with guitarist Xander Witt’s all black, all the time wardrobe, but the message becomes confused when paired with bassist Parks Miller’s vivid tank tops and cut-off jeans or Lake’s multicolored fingernails. Their individual choices of personal apparel are defiant of the stereotypical image associated with the punk genre in general — showing a group unconcerned with maintaining any type of intimidating image.

Upon release, D.Y.I immediately climbed the ranks in Athens music. According to vital tastemakers such as Flagpole Magazine and WUOG 90.5 FM, the University of Georgia’s student radio station, the release is Muuy Biien’s strongest effort to date. Flagpole gave D.Y.I. a perfect rating, and it received a solid amount of airtime from WUOG, topping its charts for two weeks over more widely renowned artists such as Mac DeMarco and Cloud Nothings. Praise for the album has extended even further than its home city thanks to mentions from blogs such as AllMusic and respected music journalist Chris Ott.

D.Y.I is a sonically wider advancement from its predecessor, This Is What Your Mind Imagines — thanks in part to Muuy Biien’s progression from a solo act with a backing band into a collaborative effort.

“When I joined, we were all just learning the parts” says guitarist Robbie Rapp. “When we recorded the first album, it was mainly all the songs he [Evans] had already written. But for D.Y.I, it was definitely everybody bringing ideas.”

The contrast is easy to decipher after Witt’s realization that “after doing D.Y.I, I feel like the first one was pretty rushed” puts both approaches into perspective.

While both feature violent sketches as the cover art, D.Y.I’s bright blue and white palette is a bold departure from TIWYMI’s black and white color scheme. Evans claims this move was simply to avoid repetition and is looked into more than it should be. The group’s lack of underlying intention was further cemented when Lake joked that “the CD itself is like bubblegum” because of its radiant coloration.

Both albums feature a tio of ambient tracks, something not necessarily expected from a band lumped into the punk genre.

“It just allows us to not be pigeonholed,” Evans says regarding the inclusion of these musical curveballs, a statement that reveals a group conscience of what they could be: a mere punk band.

Although the immediacy of touring was postponed after Evans faced a serious hip injury, it appears that personal shifts are on the horizon for the group’s leader who is using this bed-ridden time to “clean up and get my head together.”

If their artistic trajectory continues to be as drastic as that between their two albums, Muuy Biien will soon and finally be seen for what they truly are — not just a notable punk act, but a notable band in general.