Have I not written about mewithoutyou before? Tragic, I love them so much, their out-there poetic phrasing, eerily silky guitars and tension building drumrolls capturing insanity and paranoia and all the scary things most people are too afraid to be bold about.
One of the weirdest and coolest, to be sure.
The first time I heard them was at a live show, so I was nothing but sold. That being said, mewithoutyou is one of those bands that you have to get in and understand to really appreciate, a brand of thinking man’s post-hardcore, maybe?
Their latest effort, a wrecked circus train concept album, progresses their catalog well. There’s a little more melody and a little less shouting, but all together it’s really quite as brilliant as “Catch for Us the Foxes,” in it’s own way.
Vivid and descriptive and as out-there-as ever, this may be mewithoutyou’s most accessible effort. See: chord progressions that borderline on happy (“Cardiff Giant,” “Fiji Mermaid”) despite accompanying thoughts on mortality that we’ve come to know and except. “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume” feels the most like a toss to their earlier work, with never-ending verses into a guitar-centric breakdown, only Hayley Williams’ harmonies are there for added flavor.
One thing that hasn’t changed: Some of the best vocabulary you’ll hear in post-hardcore. If the scene was a high school English class, mewithoutyou is the mousy kid who doesn’t need to show up to pass and tries to dress like the beatniks.
Listening to “Ten Stories” for the first time on a cross-county drive, I found myself getting lost in its peaks and valleys, finding it had more to do with my head than my heart. While past efforts were borderline soul-crushing in their sadness and despair, “Ten Stories” has more to do with mystery, chance and the experience of the present moreso than lamenting the past.
“What from the air now calls to water on the land?
What from my seclusion does this charlatan demand?
What to do now with my best-laid eremitic plans?
I’ve been to the Arfaks where the Sicklebills fly,
seen Tangier’s acrobatics nine stories high
I was there at Appomattox back in ’65 when the General arrived
But I’ve never been in this room before..
All untied, by and by!
That same old dream’s trapped in my mind
All united, by and by
I’m bound in ropes, and on the firing line
All united, by and by
Well, I wake up disappointed every time
I wake up disappointed every time”
mewithoutyou, Ten Stories
Additionally, someone buy me a Telecaster stat. Time to plug something in.