mewithoutYou

it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright!

Written by: TL on 19/06/2009 14:41:57

My reviews have been missing from the front page for a few days, and while my exam is partly to blame for this, the real reason is really a simpler one. I have hit a hurdle. A hurdle made out of a handful of albums from May and June that are simply so awesome, that I've felt pressured to compose reviews that would do them justice. Now however it is time to get down to it, and the first treat out from the bag of goodies is mewithoutYou's fourth LP "it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright!"

If you don't know of mewithoutYou, it's safe to say that you've been missing out. Since their 2002 debut "[A→B] Life" they have stood for the steady creation of some of the most unique post-hardcore to ever exist. Marrying the genre to experimental indie and folk, the band has always provided a fascinating and engaging listen, championed by the passionate but babbling vocals of Aaron Weiss, however, what truly distinguishes them is that they are a band of extreme passion. One of the few bands where you can see that they enter a completely different universe when they come on stage. Those who have witnessed them must agree that it's hard to find a more honest and heartfelt live performance anywhere in the scene today.

Here on "it's all crazy!.." though, the post-hardcore part of the band's sound has been all but left out of the equation, as the guitars are mostly acoustic and the compositions mostly lean towards grand folk rock songs, complete with backing from keyboard, trumpet and accordion. This doesn't mean that the album is less confident than its predecessors though, quite the contrary, because the removal of the heavier parts simply accompanies the removal of Aaron's usual angst- and doubtful tone. Instead the subtle arrangements leave the perfect space for his normal singing to excel, and it does indeed, but more due to his absolutely masterful lyricism than to his vocal skill.

You see Aaron and his brother Michael (who plays the guitar and the keyboard) come from a Jewish home, and as a man of faith (faith not necessarily equaling religion), Aaron's lyricism still circles around the personal relationship between Man and God as it is described in various religious works. Thus the songs on this album seem like part religious chants, part moral fables, and remind me to great extent of Denmark's own famous H.C.Andersen, who also preached his ethics through seemingly innocent, but yet fascinating tales of animals and men alike. And yes you could say that the record is preachy in places, for instance in "Bullet To Binary Pt. 2", where Aaron sings "We all well know/we're gonna' reap/what we sow/so may we all fashionably suggest/the unmarried not undress/we well know/we're gonna reap what we sow". Personally I'll admit that I haven't figured out if this really is a praise to the concept of abstinence, but if it is then I'm obviously not on the same page as mwY (me being European and all :P). However, even if it is, the sheer poetic manner in which this and the other songs are written is so admirable that it can be enjoyed even in spite of its content. Personally I'm stunned by songs like "The Fox, The Crow And The Cookie", "The Angel Of Death Came To David's Room" and "The King Beetle And The Coconut Estate", but really every song has something to be remembered for.

And that's really what it all usually boils down to in reviews like this. How many of the songs from the album have something to be remembered for. The answer here is pretty much all of them, and while the mellow instrumentation might prove to deduct from replay-ability at some point, that will be a loooong way down the road. Fans of The Decemberists may like this for the troubadour-esque folk, while fans of Bright Eyes could easily dig it for it's quirky indieness and loyal followers of As Cities Burn should be interested simply for the style of the religious content. There's probably also a chance that appreciators of City And Colour and Forgive Durden can find something to their liking in it and.. Well basically unless you mind your music being subtle and acoustic, you should be getting this. It's a great record, especially lyrically.

Download: "The Fox, The Crow And The Cookie", "The Angel Of Death Came To David's Room", "The King Beetle And The Coconut Estate"
For The Fans Of: The Decemberists, Bright Eyes, (new) As Cities Burn
Listen: myspace.com/mewithoutyou

Release Date 19.05.2009
Tooth & Nail

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