LABEL: BIG SCARY MONSTERS
RATING: 9 /10
WORDS: JACK MOBLEY
The thriving Philadelphia rock scene that boasts the likes of The Menzingers, The Wonder Years and Modern Baseball, however mewithoutYou’s fusion of emo and post-hardcore are hardly ever mentioned. But the latest record, [untitled], is something to shout about from the experimental-indie rockers. Sonically impressive and baffling at times, with ambient tones that turn into incredibly energetic tracks. This complex and layered album is a balance between what is great about early-2000’s alternative music, an injection of life in the faster tempo tracks while maintaining a pensive tone. Coupled with lead singer, Aaron Weiss’, constantly brilliant lyricism that is pure philosophical poetry that isn’t afraid to tackle topics of existentialism and religion, unrelenting doubt, and anger. All the while painting vivid stories that allow you to dive in deep and discover new details on each listen.
The rhythm section is steady and does have its outbursts, but for the most part holds down the album while building ambience and an overall dark, moody sound scape. Guitars is where the experimental aspect come into play as verses are welcomed with warm tones or swirling fills while on other tracks the unpredictable and experimental nature comes to the forefront like wondering through a dense forest at night with no light with each lick and riff being every surprising noise. The band constantly switch between brooding almost shoegaze tracks to raucous and explosive moments which can be jarring but always peaks interest as you don’t know where the album is going at any one point. In the same vein, when the quieter sections draw you in, the juxtaposition of the louder percussive points in the album seem even bigger, especially on ‘Another Head For Hydra’.
“pure philosophical poetry that isn’t afraid to tackle topics of existentialism and religion, unrelenting doubt, and anger”
The star of the show is indeed lead singer, Aaron Weiss as his delivery varies between a gruff and raw vocal on the opening track, ‘9.27am., 7/29’,compared to ‘Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses)’ which has a deep, calm feel and overall aesthetic that wouldn’t be out of place on Brand New’s Science Fiction. ‘Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore’ has an almost unrecognisable distorted quality that builds and builds, slowly but in a chaotic way that ups the intensity with each section. A vast variety of styles on display that Weiss orchestrates effortlessly, playing safe would have been sticking to one of these styles but that is certainly not the case.
The beautiful and intriguing stories that are portrayed on tracks like ‘Flee, Thou Matadors!’ are masterful. A story of the lead up to the War of Oranges between the King of Spain, Ferdinand VIII and the Queen of Portugal, Maria The Mad is fantastically converted into song through the melody and lyrics. All before a guitar solo closes the song in epic fashion with perfect tones. ‘Wendy and Betsy’ is written as an anger filled argument which escalates with each back and forth until there is a sonic explosion. ‘New Wine, New Skins’ demonstrates in a near perfect way those feelings of existentialism and religion with the words, ‘“God’s will” or “come what fortune gives” Or is this truly how you’d choose to live? Managing the Narrative,’ blending calmness and raw power.
“to pinpoint this piece of art to one theme or song is impossible “
mewithoutYou are an incredibly complex and clever band in both instrumentation and content, Aaron Weiss is a genius that can seemingly write a gorgeous song about almost anything: a master of poetry and storytelling that is seamlessly converted into a format that a song can be built around. Working in complete unison, the rest of the band have created a piece of work that is interesting and intricate without being inaccessible. Taking the right moments to stop and reflect with a shoegaze element or whether to up the ante and intensity. [Untitled] is a worthy name because to pinpoint this piece of art to one theme or song is impossible.