Review Summary: Combining the aggressive elements of A to B: Life with the atmospheric Brother, Sister, then throwing Weiss' vocal and lyrical prowess into the mix, Catch For Us The Foxes demands to be heard.
If you’re familiar with A to B: Life, it was a much rawer, more aggressive album compared to Brother, Sister, a far more atmospheric, indie-influenced album revolving around the melodic ramblings of Aaron Weiss. Catch For Us The Foxes, the bands 2nd full length, serves as the stepping-stone between the two, combining the aggressive elements of their previous record with a rawer take on the atmospheric approach that distinguished their follow up. Of course, if you’re not in fact familiar with mewithoutYou, Catch For Us The Foxes is a perfect introduction; showcasing some of the best elements of the band whilst hinting at many of the things to come.
Easily distinguishable from the very start, Aaron Weiss is quite a unique front man. He takes an aggressive spoken-word approach, albeit more melodic than on the bands last outing, sometimes reduced to a ramble and at other times full blown screams above the soundscape the band creates behind him. His voice often serves as the focal point of emotion, only bolstered by his masterfully crafted lyrics. Weiss is a poet at his core and his lyrics often reflect a sense of personal struggle and introspection which, combined with his vocal ability, make for consistently memorable moments in his songs, such as in opening track “Torches Together” where he sings “You played the flute, but no one was dancing, /And you sang a sad song, and none of us cried.”
His lyrical tales aren’t as fleshed out as on Brother, Sister, but he still manages to portray a keen sense of awareness and imagery, with metaphors aplenty. However, none of this would achieve the same emotional peak that it does, without the assistance of the band. In “Disaster Tourism”, led by the wailing guitar, the song is brought to it’s climax, before sinking back down but instead of allowing it to fade away, the guitars continue with a sinister undertone, as if threatening to explode again, before the song ends. “The Soviet” sees a wayward riff wander behind Weiss’ vocals until a drum roll brings the bass heavy interlude into the songs atmospheric climax. The spoken-word vocals make it so that every last intricacy, every last intertwining guitar or drumbeat, has to achieve a purpose in lifting the meaning of the words, which serve as the emphasis of Weiss’ delivery.
Then there’s God. Aaron Weiss believes in him. He writes a couple lines about him as well. Does that hinder the listening experience in any way? Unless you’re blatantly looking for reasons not to enjoy this, it really shouldn’t. The most obvious example of Weiss’ religious ramblings can be found in the first lines of “The Soviet” when he proclaims, “God is love and love is real”, but apart from that, many of the religious undertones are specifically that: undertones. They aren’t preachy or in your face but rather a lot more subtle and often heavily doused in metaphor. Even when he does talk about God, it relates to a far more personal relationship with him and not an obnoxious imposing of belief. Weiss is far too careful for that. He rides an intricate line between worship and inquisition, stating, “And if I didn't have You as my guide, I'd still wander lost in Sinai” relating to the story of Moses, exemplifying, as I previously stated, his state of personal struggle rather than religious imposition.
Ultimately, mewithoutYou craft songs that pulse with a musical maturity and depth. Stripped of the vocals, this is a post-hardcore record at its core and the riffs, heavy bass lines and sheer urgency of the tempo support this claim. But make no mistake, the living, beating heart of this record is Aaron Weiss.
Catch For Us The Foxes is a torrid musical journey that deserves to be listened to. It’s carved out a niche for mewithoutYou that is specifically their own, distinguishing their sound from any musical counterparts whilst continuing to expand on it, as seen in the follow up, Brother, Sister. This is truly a remarkable listening experience.