Review Summary: I'm not the boy that I once was. But I'm not the man I'll be.
Looking back at what we once were, it is almost impossible to avoid a sense of embarrassment, as the people we once were are nothing close to what we have become, nor the people we strive to be . Aaron Weiss is a man who, through his well-documented peaks and valleys, understood this. Although the crux of this release was rooted in pain and frustration, the brilliance of Weiss was ever prominent. Twisting prose and bending sentences, Aaron Weiss spewed a constant stream of metaphorical and flat out jaw dropping poetry on mewithoutYou’s debut [A to B] Life. At a time when bands in the post-hardcore genre were aptly focusing on emotion and chaos, mewithoutYou channeled obvious influences and put forth one of the most passionate debuts in recent memory.
Heartbreak can entirely change a man, and nowhere can I find a more poignant example of this than the life of Aaron Weiss. Fueling the entirety of this Tooth and Nail debut, Weiss’s bitter break up was seemingly anything but amiable, lending to the fact that this album houses more perfectly sculpted ‘loss of love’ lyrics than you’ll know what to do with. While the lyrics themselves are astounding, the delivery is truly what sets this release apart from others in its genre. Passion drips from every frantic yell and anger permeates every aspect of the desperate screams. One can almost feel the pain and anger Aaron Weiss felt throughout his ordeal as he screams “You were a song I couldn’t sing. You were a story I couldn’t tell. I’ve only ever loved myself, but I’ve loved myself so well
” in Nice and Blue
or the desperate longing throughout the entirety of the penultimate track Silencer
But to focus solely on the attributions of the lead singer is an unfair discredit to the band that surrounded him. [A to B] Life is truly mewithoutYou at their heaviest and most raw. Riffs that you would never imagine coming from the same minds that put forth It’s All Crazy are abundantly present. Arguably one of the most underrated drummers currently in music, Richard Mazzotta slyly changes tempos and rhythms more often than he maintains it, leading songs to unfamiliar territories. Guitarists Chris Kleinberg and Mike Weiss play gritty and schizophrenic lines, while bassist Daniel Pishock is perfectly in tune with Mazzotta, in turn creating an undeniably tight
rhythm section. Instrumental tracks (A) and (B) perfectly set the mood and serve as perfect segues between tracks. Elsewhere the instrumentation is as sporadic as Weiss himself, as they start and stop, ebb and flow ceaselessly. The outro of We Know Who Our Enemies Are
fades away gently before returning full force, for example. mewithoutYou seemed to have perfected the art of ‘outros’ as every songs ends perfectly, forming a coherent record far beyond the bands formative years.
The ability to speak to a vast secular audience all while having predominantly ‘Christian’ lyrics is widely desired throughout music. The fact that mewithoutYou was able to transcend this constriction on their first proper outing is truly a testament to the genius and talent of this band. A record that set the bar high for subsequent releases, [A to B] Life is without a doubt a classic record in every sense of the term.