Album Review
mewithoutYou - Brother, Sister Album Cover

mewithoutYou - Brother, Sister

Reviewed by
mewithoutYouBrother, Sister
Release Date: September 26, 2006
Record Label: Tooth & Nail

Last summer, my friend Scott Weber told me I must get into mewithoutYou—that they are a pivotal band, creative and non-linear—every five-dollar word Pitchfork Media would use to worship a Sufjan Stevens or Mogwai album. Putting it nicely, I thought they were rather over-the top and boring at the same time. Where were the driving choruses and upbeat melodies? I mean you have to have one or the other right? Fast forward almost a year later and I’m singing their praises, first acknowledging the pure poetry of their art—from there it was all butter.

MewithoutYou—Aaron Weiss (vocals), Michael Weiss (guitar), Christopher Kleinberg (guitar), Greg Jehanian (bass) and Richard Mazzotta (drums)—release their third full length, Brother, Sister on Tooth and Nail as a triumph of their two pre-existing works. Where [A+B] Life was understood to be a one-time experiment and Catch For Us the Foxes expanded on the artform, establishing a healthy following of avant-garde fans, mewithoutYou continue to bring strong content. With such ambitious and sometimes incomprehensible lyrics, the Philadelphia group have captured a softer tone on Brother, Sister only to reclaim their ability to package an epic.

The album opens up unlike the prior two sets have. Aaron stands imparting his words over a quiet rain: “I do not exist, but faithfully insist.” As that first line suggests the song continues to speak over this inferiority to simply live and notice life as a grace-filled conception at which God gives man no worthy thing to sacrifice other than a broken life. Several other tracks require an inquisitive thinking and research to understand what the lyrics are expressing—some points easily understood, others extremely unorthodox. But hey what do I know? Several of these tracks can be read from contrasting worldviews. For example, “The Sun And the Moon” could either be about God’s omniscience and ever-presence or it could be about man’s want to be inside God’s thoughts and plans. A little confounded but neither residual or shallow the lyrics are the focal point of every mewithoutYou album.

Three tracks ("Yellow Spider", "Orange Spider", "Brownish Spider") are uniquely spread out throughout the album that could only be characterized as acoustic and medieval ballads. The colors mature like the leaves of autumn and reflect some sort of transformation but still leaves this reviewer baffled to what these intermissions seem to translate to.

Aaron addresses the lyrics with several issues epistemologically (“In A Sweater Poorly Knit” and “A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains”), socially (“C Minor”) and theologically (The Sun And the Moon” and “ Messes Of Man”). Over your head? It's not. Like most Christian poetry, Aaron wrestles through the difficulty of a divine covenant that doesn't visually rule. Aaron’s voice (lyrics aside)and collective teamwork on the music make for a musical landscape, using dense and atmospheric guitar riffs accentuating the hollow rasp on vocals (Note: Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate) lends his voice on "O, Porcupine").

No, it’s not catchy pop or infection rock and it’s not meant to be, it’s meant to be creative and in the lyrics especially. The music has grow into a steady background of experimental and ambient noise for the canvas mewithoutYou are painting. Each album has gotten better than the prior. All music fans need not apply, while mewithoutYou would prefer to be for everyone, their creativity does not fit the popular music mold.

Oh, you pious and profane!
Put away your pain and blame
A glass can only spill what it contains!
So if you put out to reclaim
The incurably inane
A glass can only spill what it contains!
This review is a user submitted review from Gabe Gross. You can see all of Gabe Gross's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 61
10:02 AM on 09/26/06
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WakingTheMisery's Avatar
Definately agree on lyrics and vocals.
10:05 AM on 09/26/06
Not the albino wussy
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Raiden's Avatar
Made me defintely wanna check this cd out.
10:06 AM on 09/26/06
gettin emo!
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CurtyB's Avatar
i've been trying to get into them for a while now..i have all 3 albums...but it never quite catches on for me...
10:10 AM on 09/26/06
I'm damaged bad at best
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sayyes's Avatar
"every five-dollar word Pitchfork Media would use to worship a Sufjan Stevens or Mogwai album"
10:12 AM on 09/26/06
Eurotrash Drock
Registered User
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No Avatar Selected
ive been waiting all year for this one, see ya - im off to go pick it up!
10:19 AM on 09/26/06
The World Won't Listen.
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GoWaitInTheCar's Avatar
Catch For Us The Foxes > Brother, Sister
10:20 AM on 09/26/06
True Punk Fan?
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garlicgirl1210's Avatar
Made me defintely wanna check this cd out.
i thought that exact same thing.
nice review.
10:27 AM on 09/26/06
Stand up!
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Tenn's Avatar
That's a great review. I love their lyrics, but just can't seem to get into the music.
10:32 AM on 09/26/06
The World Won't Listen.
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GoWaitInTheCar's Avatar
I like this album A LOT, but it doesn't top the first releases, or at least yet..
10:40 AM on 09/26/06
visit - www.myspace.com/markadfour
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mdarket's Avatar
I like the album. It's different than a->b or catch for us the foxes, but it is very well crafted. I also felt puzzled with the meaning of the spider songs, but I have only listened to the cd once through. I highly recommend this album. Along with the new Saosin & The Dear Hunter
11:02 AM on 09/26/06
****** of the funky bunch
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MarkyMark1984's Avatar
Catch For Us The Foxes > Brother, Sister

i think it will take more than one day to judge that.
11:06 AM on 09/26/06
I'm a slave to the details.
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eternalthings's Avatar
mewithoutYou never ceases to amaze me, and I think they're the only band I can truly say that of.
11:27 AM on 09/26/06
true blue hooligan since 2001
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xobstacleonex's Avatar
Catch For Us The Foxes > Brother, Sister
'brother, sister' is pretty fucking close. if not better.
i think 'brother, sister' is more raw. musically, lyrically and production-wise.
and i really really like that about it.
not to mention that the new album is filled with variety.
12:05 PM on 09/26/06
under lock and key
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FASSWcore's Avatar
this cd didn't have the shine that the last one did. overall, i still love it though.

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