Review: mewithoutYou – it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright

mewithoutyou

I feel as though mewithoutYou has long been neglected in the indie music community, and I guess, until now, that’s really been understandable. Their earliest releases were deeply rooted in post-hardcore, and vocalist Aaron Weiss alternated from sing-speak to yell-speak over mounds of angry, pounding distortion. Now, though, things have changed. The band’s newest – it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright – fully embraces all the folk-rock hints the band has thrown at us over the years. Musically, its range is vast, and lyrically, Weiss is as acute as ever.

Unlike the guitar/drums/bass of old, mewithoutYou has employed a vast number of instruments for its latest. You’ll hear flute, tuba, melodica, strings, trumpet, and piano, among many others. It all fits in perfectly with the distinct mewithoutYou aesthetic, though. Nothing here feels out of place while backing Weiss’ wiry sing-speak.

Lyrically, it’s important to keep in mind that this effort is basically a worship album masquerading as a folk rock CD. Weiss’ lyrics range from subtly religious to bluntly religious, from metaphor-laden stories about foxes and beetles to other, heavier-handed sentiments (“What a beautiful God, what a beautiful God, what a beautiful God there must be!”). Every lyric fits into its place, though, just like…I don’t know, a God-tinted puzzle piece or something. But the obvious statements accent the subtle stories they follow, and the stories themselves are full-on narratives, mini-epics within themselves.

The kicker, though, is that every song is so honestly and purely joyous. Never does it seem like the band is out to shove God’s word down the listener’s throats. The album is a celebration of beliefs, whatever those beliefs may be and whoever may have them. Many of the songs boast simple rhythms and stirring gang-vocal portions, which are all catchy because they’re all meant as sing-alongs. It’s almost as if the band wants us to pull out that old acoustic and strum along around a campfire with ten of our closest friends.

Well, wait, they do.  From the riotous “Allah, Allah, Allah,” which encapsulates this community attitude the best:

“If you care to sing forgiveness songs / Come down and join our band / We’ll cut you like sword / And sing forgiveness songs”

Yeah.

Otherwise, I’m not going to go too far into song specifics. Yes, one or two tracks are musically lame compared to their counterparts, and sometimes the mood can get uncomfortably Raffi-esque, but it was bound to happen as soon as that tuba player came to the studio and Weiss began to sing about food. However, so many of these 11 tracks are so gleefully entrancing that it would be ridiculous not to at least give it a try.

mewithoutYou – “Goodbye, I!” [MP3]

mewithoutYou – “Timothy Hay” [MP3]

mewithoutYou – “The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate” [MP3]

mewithoutYou on MySpace

Buy the new CD here

1 comment to Review: mewithoutYou – it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright

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