Archive for the ‘mewithoutyou’ tag
It’s not that I loved the album. It’s just what I do when I’m reviewing a record. I’ll hit play and listen intently. I’ll replay it in the background while I clean the house. I’ll listen to it through my headphones while I walk to the bodega or the post office. Usually, I’ll go through their older albums once or twice to put it in perspective. It’s all part of my process. And after all that, I’ll write the review. I spent two whole days listening to MewithoutYou’s latest record.
So here we are, about 48 hours later, and I’m not sure this album has made absolutely any impact on me.
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first: This is not the MewithoutYou of the early aughts. They were a little closer to your average post-hardcore band back then. But around the time of their third album, 2006’s “Brother, Sister,” they’d all but abandoned that side of themselves.
Nowadays, when they aren’t sounding like Les Savy Fav, MewithoutYou sound like the Decemberists, or Neil Young, or the Weakerthans, or REM, or whoever else. None of the songs are really too similar sounding, but they’re also not wildly different in any meaningful, original way. They just sound like a bunch of rock songs done in different styles of rock music, not a cohesive series.
There’s a reason for that. The album’s concept is the brainchild of Aaron Weiss, the band’s lead singer, and the title of the album is essentially what you get: Weiss wrote a series of short stories that revolve a single theme, animals that escaped a circus train crash. The concept album thing has been done, sure, but it can work if done right.
And the thing is, it really isn’t that bad. “Cardiff Giant,” the fourth track on the album, is a nice little sing along ditty. And those influences they’re aping? They’re great influences. When you hear the lead track, “February, 1878,” you know in your heart that it may as well be an old Les Savy Fav b-side, but it’s a fun table setter for the rest of the record.