mewithoutYou
[untitled] e.p.


4.5
superb

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
August 18th, 2018 | 426 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The eye of the storm.

In the closing moments of ‘Rainbow Signs’, all hell breaks loose. Literally. Weiss sings about the opening of the fourth seal, which as it relates to the biblical book of Revelation, is basically the start of the apocalypse. We’re talking about horrific death and destruction beyond our ability to comprehend, yet Weiss is still able to capture it perfectly. Like a movie based upon a book, ‘Rainbow Signs’ even keeps the details accurate to Christian text: the sky opens up like a scroll, the sun turns black, and the horsemen ride out. Curiously, that’s not where the song ends though; with Weiss instead choosing to bring things down a notch to this softly muttered inside joke that he once shared with his late father. With this [untitled] EP, it feels like a continuation of that still frame. It’s meek and modest compared to where Pale Horses almost left off, and as listeners, it feels like we’re caught in the eye of a hurricane. Behind us lies the wake of Pale Horses, and on the horizon, there’s the rumbling thunder of the allegedly furious [Untitled] LP. The (also) [untitled] EP is a pleasant little reprieve from all the carnage.

When lining up ‘Rainbow Signs’ and ‘Bethlehem, WV’ in succession, the transition feels perfectly arranged. Weiss’ quip about that secret Abrahamic joke is met by the line, “Dad used to talk about for days, I finally tasted what he meant”, and the acoustic guitars ring out resplendently as if to proclaim one last sunrise. Angelic sounding ahh ahh’s chime in like rays of light beaming through the clouds, and it feels – for the first time since Ten Stories – as if there is hope for the world. Even predictions of impending doom are greeted with a silver lining: “soon our ransomed souls will leave this age behind for streets of solid gold.” It’s far from a peace promise, though. Within this alternate reality that mewithoutYou have crafted, they avoid the campy optimism of It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright!. The overarching atmosphere is more akin to Ten Stories stripped down; these weighty philosophical topics broken down to their bare bones for examination. There’s even a few historical references to World War II, namely dates in August – the third and the sixth – which mark the days in which Germany and France declared war upon each other, as well as when the United States bombed Hiroshima, respectively. Needless to say, this is not any sort of exercise in undue positivity, but rather a pause to reflect upon where it all went wrong – and ultimately, how we arrived on the edge of destruction.

Texturally, [untitled] is dreamy, ambient, and predominantly acoustic. The seven songs unfold like a stream of consciousness storytelling, with ‘Winter Solstice’ serving up a reflective and vaguely apocalyptic tone (“for the nights when our trumpets won’t blow”…“all the stars on the ground, Noah’s ark in the clouds”) to gentle strumming, while ‘Kristy w/ the Sparkling Teeth’ also thrives on the strength of its melody, featuring an acoustic guitar line which serves as the closest thing to a hook on an album that’s noticeably absent of choruses. The most surprising departure comes on the combination of ‘Cities on the Plain’ and ‘Existential Dread, Six Hours’ Time’, two tracks where mewithoutYou venture into previously uncharted drone/ambient territory and pull it off like seasoned veterans of the genre. ‘August 6th’ is the closest they come to breaking out of the haze, where there’s a noticeably heightened percussive presence and an overall uptick in tempo and energy. It’s appropriate though, considering that the lyrical content focuses on Hiroshima both pre and post nuclear annihilation.

[untitled] is essentially a series of hefty topics discussed over tea. It’s one’s “life flashing before their eyes”, if that person were society and his/her life were the history of the world. The extended play is a time-out, this calm pool of thoughts that aren’t necessarily pleasant but that need to be reflected upon before the end. It truly is the calm both after the storm and before the next one. It feels purposely out-of-tune with the urgency of these times, almost as if to temporarily retreat inward – to keep one’s thoughts focused and organized. It’s lower case [untitled] for a reason. The storm is coming, and mewithoutYou is bracing for it. Or perhaps not even preparing, and just taking one last moment to look at a timeline of human history – for all its beauty and carnage – and appreciate it. Can you hear the trumpets, off in the distance?

Cue [Untitled]. May G-d have mercy on us all.




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user ratings (195)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
letsgofishing (4)
Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop....



Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
August 18th 2018


28120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This EP grew on me so much in just a day, it's scary to think what the LP may do.

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

coldheaven
August 18th 2018


4592 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hell yeah sowing

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2018


40668 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Like a movie based upon a book, ‘Rainbow Signs’ even keeps the details accurate




do movies really do that tho



I also don't think the ambient style is a total departure, the Appendix version of Red Cow and it's hidden track foreshadowed this reasonably well. If anything Kristy was the biggest surprise on here for me



but great review and agreed what a fuckin teaser this is

Digging: St. Vincent - MassEducation

Evrimen
August 18th 2018


111 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes they do, if you watch good adaptations.

Digging: Tim Hecker - Konoyo

coldheaven
August 18th 2018


4592 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

“Dirty Air” and “Existential Dread, Six Hours Time” were the biggest surprises to me. I really like their experimentation with those tracks, and how they pull it off so flawlessly. My favorite band of all time never ceases to amaze me, will probably bump this rating up after even more repeated listens.

heyadam
August 18th 2018


2273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this ep is sooooo good. unbelievably hype for the lp

Digging: mewithoutYou - [Untitled]

heyadam
August 18th 2018


2273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

double post, love the eye of the storm metaphor. tops review as always.

Sinternet
August 18th 2018


17239 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cities of the plain rules so hard

coldheaven
August 18th 2018


4592 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yessss Sint, that’s my favorite of this EP

heyadam
August 18th 2018


2273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah that’s my fav too. That build is just so good

c0ffee
August 18th 2018


310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed. "Cities" is at the top for me. When "August 6th" fully kicks in around the middle...also a great moment.



"and sometimes when it’s quiet my heart feels like Guernica.

[scenes from old air raid] on screens..."



That part^

heyadam
August 18th 2018


2273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

YES. That and “does it feel wrong to say a thought ‘metastasized’?”

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 18th 2018


28120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

To be honest the only things holding this back from perfection, for me, were those two ambient tracks. I know everyone is losing their minds over Cities right now though so I'm probably in the minority. Favorite tracks thus far are the bookends, although Solstice and August 6th are incredible too.

FreddieDelaney31
August 18th 2018


4819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

How fucking much has Will Yip stepped up his game here and on Julia??? Besides RS, I couldn't stand the production of PH, but the production since then is possibly my favorite part of these new songs-there's just a treasure trove of tones and textural embellishments. Also, I haven't been so utterly convinced a band is about to drop a classic since Simple Math-like there's just this electric feeling in the air.

Digging: Daughters - You Won't Get What You Want

Sinternet
August 18th 2018


17239 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Its clicked in my head that dirty air has a huge manchester orchestra vibe

FreddieDelaney31
August 18th 2018


4819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Fun fact: Dirty Air was written by their interim bassist and was originally just called "Dom". I'm glad they kept it, one of my favorites here. Also Sint, I could totally see that now that you say it

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 18th 2018


28120 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Agreed FD. I have the same vibe as I did leading up to Simple Math - there's just this masterful air like they're at the top of their craft.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
August 18th 2018


40668 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

"From what the rest of us could tell



dad tried his best but finally fell



apart at just my age."

heyadam
August 18th 2018


2273 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ that was the first line that really really hit me

c0ffee
August 18th 2018


310 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As much as I like the ambient intro to Cities, I'll sometimes skip ahead 1.5min until the drum fades in. I don't mind it in the full context of the album.



Cities seems to squeeze the most empathy out of this subdued (compared to their other work) EP. There's almost a delay to the way Aaron draws out the lines, like the way a pianist holds a chord past its count to convey emotion. And we have the backdrop/reverb of those pulsing guitar#1 lines with guitar#2 slides and simplistic percussion. The chord progression is just weird enough. It's easy to pick out all the layers at the beginning, with everything loose and organic. All those pieces snap together in chorus at about 3:30. That slow, full song-length crescendo is just tasty.



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