Review Summary: In darkness a light shines on me, in darkness a light shines on you
It is my own personal belief (and maybe others as well) that the motives of the majority of bands that are currently making music are less then favorable. It’s so rare to find a band that makes music with true sincerity. Actually no, it’s not as much as writing with sincerity, but to create music with lack of insincerity. Certain bands decide that it is best to just sing about drugs and sex and the “rock and roll lifestyle”, while others decide that their music will be more personal. mewithoutYou is a band that for the last 8 years or so have created some of the most personal, the most honest music. There are little topics that the men in mewithoutYou are afraid to cover. Whether it’d be heartbreak (i.e. A to B: Life
) or more pressing matters such as sexual abstinence in the song C Minor
Aaron Weiss always manages to lure the listener in, and take them for a ride of a lifetime. With Brother, Sister
, mewithoutYou’s third studio release, mewithoutYou manages to create one of, if not THE, best records to come out in a long, long time.
Aaron Weiss- Vocals
Mike Weiss- Guitar
Christopher Kleinberg- Guitar
Greg Jehanian- Bass
Ricky Mazzotta- Drums
Like I earlier stated, this is mewithoutYou’s third album, and with it as expected, their sound has changed from their previous releases. With Brother, Sister, mewithoutYou embraces more of the indie genre, while still maintaining some of their post-hardcore roots. The songs still manage to flow perfectly, as if the band creating them has been making music like this for countless years. The band does experiment with many different instruments throughout Brother, Sister. Harps can be heard in the song In A Sweater Poorly Knit, Aaron plays an accordion throughout the intro of In A Market Dimly Lit, and sleigh bells are other various percussion is also heard throughout the entire album. Messes Of Men is a great way to start of the album with a quiet spoken intro over rain and keyboards before exploding into a monstrous song about adultery using countless sailing metaphors. The song then flows perfectly into the next song, The Dryness and The Rain, which is one of two songs to feature guest vocalist Jeremy Enigk. The song is brilliant and also features a guitar solo and one of the catchiest bridges/clap tracks that also has some very excellent lyrics.
A fish swims through the sea
While the sea is, in a certain sense
Contained within the fish!
Oh, what am I to think
Of what the writing
Of a thousand lifetimes could not explain
If all the forest trees were pens
And all the oceans, ink?
The rest of the band is also so talented, but is often shadowed by their front man. Drummer Ricky Mazzotta constantly is changing tempos and time signatures so effortlessly that you may not even notice. There is never a boring “ordinary” drum beat to be found throughout. Guitarists Mike Weiss and Christian Kleinberg create less of an atmosphere this time around and decide to rely more of main riffs and hooks. Not to say that there still aren’t very atmospheric segments, such as the ending to In A Market Dimly Lit. Brother, Sister is bassist Greg Jehanian’s first record with mewithoutYou but he still is able to create very catchy and audible bass riffs throughout.
But as most people know mewithoutYou is a band that is most revered for their lyricist and front man Aaron Weiss. It wouldn’t be a mewithoutYou review without dedicating an entire paragraph to him. The lyrics that escape from Aaron’s mouth are pure poetry. Most of the songs dabble with religion, be it questioning God and all the motives behind Him or eventually accepting and believing. Aaron does sing a lot more on this release then previous releases, but don’t worry; his trademark shout/yell is still found often throughout. As mentioned in other reviews, Aaron’s voice manages to convey so many different emotions and all the time remaining so honest. There are songs where he is doubting, there are songs where he is believing. Songs where he is happy and songs where is very, very sad. The extent of his poetry is, in all honesty, mind blowing. I must imagine it takes him so long to write a single song, because every accented word, every voice squeak fits the music so perfectly.
Although I thoroughly enjoy every single song found on Brother, Sister my favorite is by far O, Porcupine
. Every single aspect of the song is breathtaking. The song starts out with an interesting drumbeat quickly followed by guitars and Aaron’s constant ramblings. But about a minute in the entire song shifts, when the words All creation groaned
are spoken followed by SHHHHHH and everything stops. Listen to it
is whispered and the song picks back op again. O, Porcupine is a song that manages to contain 2 of my top ten moments in music. The first being the irony that is present when Aaron shouts You have a decent ear for notes, But you can't yet appreciate harmony
followed by one of the most dissonant passages in mewithoutYou’s history. The second being the outro that once again features guest vocalist Jeremy Enigk. The ending is just so beautiful with Jeremy singing so emotionally in the background and Aaron shouting in the forefront:
I never gathered figs from a thorny branch,
I never picked a grapefruit off a bramble bush
and for the past five almost six years now!
you know you haven't once looked at me
with kindness in your eyes
you say Judas is a brother of mine?
but sister in our darkness a light shines
and all I ever want to say for the rest of my life
is how that light is God,
and though I've been mistaken on this or that point,
that light is nevertheless God.
This is just one of those moments in music that gives me goosebumps every single time
I listen to it.
mewithoutYou is a band that does take multiple listens to actually appreciate. But I highly recommend that you do take the time, because I guarantee that Brother, Sister will be one of the best 43 minutes and 39 seconds that you will ever spend listening to music.