Monday, January 11, 2010

mewithoutYou: It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright (5/5)

Joshua's Non-Metal Picks for 2009
#1 of 10

Year: 2009
Genre: Progressive Modern Rock
Label: Tooth & Nail
TRT: 44:55

mewithoutYou has made a long dusty trip from their first full length under that moniker, and the random EPs before it. Back then, they were a group of kids from Philly in their early twenties with a pants load of questions about who they were, who God was, and what the hell we're all doing on this speck of dust in the eye of the cosmos.

A --> B: Life is very much about "me me me", focusing on themes of heartbreak, rejection, failure and disappointment in the day to day. You can hear intense urgency and passion in Aaron Weiss' voice and words, and you just want to raise your fist and pump it at the perceived injustices of the world.

In the following releases, we see change and maturation in the bands style and attitude. Catch For Us the Foxes begins the process of turning eyes from "me" to "others", and gaining perspective.

When we reach 2006's offering Brother, Sister, there's a stark difference in tone and setting from A --> B Life. Instead of "I said I'd not be coming back, but I'm coming back (and you better be alone)" we hear "I'm still technically a virgin after 27 years and that's never bothered me before, what's maybe 50 more?".

Much has changed since 2002 it seems. Weiss and company have apparently learned a few things since then, had some personal revelations, and grown through adversity. This album has left the angst in the past (for the most part), and instead focuses on sharing the insights and wisdom gleaned over the years and passing on a little of it.

This drastic change is perfectly framed by the opening track from their latest release. Instead of angrily lamenting all the tragic events that have befallen "me me me", the first track of It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright is humbly entitled every thought a Thought of You, setting the tone for an album that is surprisingly uplifting, happy and whimsical.

Most of the songs are stories, allegorical and dense overall, but every now and then there is a little nugget sitting there plain as day to be picked up. I know I'm going to be spending the next few years trying to decipher whats being imparted by songs such as Cattail Down, Timothy Hay, and especially Fig With a Bellyache (which I kinda sorta think is one giant oblique and convoluted metaphor for sex...), while the message behind the King Beetle on a Coconut Estate or the Angel of Death came to David's room are readily apparent. The music is folksy and bright (again, for the most part) as opposed to the dark post-hardcore aggressive sound showcased on previous albums.

Many fans felt let down by this release, because it is drastically different from a lot of what mewithoutYou has previously released. And while I can understand their vexation, and this is probably my "least favorite" of their material, all of their albums are 5 star releases, and I know I'll only continue to grow fonder and fonder of all of them as the years pass.

It was rumored for awhile that this would be their last album and tour, but they've recently stated that they have every intention of continuing to make music for a long time, and don't know how those rumors got started. However, if this were to be their last hoorah, it would be the perfect final chapter in the book of "mewithoutYou", Their discography chronicling the hardships and joys, the failures and triumphs, the falling down and the getting up that occurs on the sojourn to becoming a better person.

01 every thought a Thought of You
02 the Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie
03 the Angel of Death came to David's room
04 goodbye, I!
05 a Stick, a Carrot and String
06 bullet to Binary (pt. two)
07 Timothy Hay
08 Fig with a Bellyache
09 Cattail Down
10 the King Beetle on a Coconut Estate
11 Allah, Allah, Allah

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