MeWithoutYou – It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright

2095110Artist: MeWithoutYou
Album: It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright
Genre: Indie Rock/Folk
Label: Tooth and Nail

MeWithoutYou is kind of like a fine wine, only getting better with age. Also, much like wine, everyone has their own opinion about when they’re truly at their best. There’s those who claim the angry young men who released the first record would be ashamed of the men they became and then there’s those who feel the band is just not hitting their stride. I, for one, am neither. I love it all and while their are aspects of each I cherish, nothing can tarnish the band for me thus far. Their latest release, the more relaxed, yet obsurdly named, It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright only further cements this act as one who will be making great music for years to come.

This record will instantly stand out from all the group’s previous releases, with the exception of some light relation to Brother, Sister. Aaron Weiss’ signature spoken beat poetry has evolved more and more into beautifully simple singing that still maintains the deeply, deeply metaphoric messages his screams once tried to get across. “Every Though A Thought of You,” the opening track, brings us in with the new folk laden sound of the group, but Weiss’ tip toeing tongue dances along the beats to a very poppy rhythm in such a way we are instantly pulled into the praise music they’ve created. Later, we find my personal favorite track, the straight folk styled, “The Angel Of Death Came To David’s Room.” This track beckons back to the days of Simon and Garfunkel or James Taylor with a tune that calls for singing along, but is stark with a story and message you must hear. I don’t know that Weiss’ has ever written something so simple, yet beautiful as he does here. Likewise, “Goodbye, I,” the very next track, has a full band throughout, but is entirely some metaphoric tale using animals and their lives to teach us moral lessons. It’s like Aesop’s Fables have been channeled into powerfully moving music and it all slips so carefully from Aaron as if he’s sure he wants to proclaim his faith, but is still shy of the public. In fact, especailly early on, the metaphors MeWithoutYou has become so known for near constantly involve animals. It feels fitting given the folk/country feel a lot of the record carries, but it’s still something can grow old after a few listens.

“Bullet To Binary [pt. two],” a track I’m sure many are interested in, kicks off the second chunk of the album with a flare. However, this acoustic centered track only references the original in the opening lines and rhythm. It’s mainly acoustic and much more religiously focused than before, but it’s definitely one I keep coming back to. There’s another throwback to the early 70’s with, “Timothy Hay,” a track that seems to be almost entirely sung as opposed to the talk singing we’ve come to know this group for. Anyone who loved the “…. Spider” series from the last release will be sold when they hear, “Cattail Down.” Weiss’ voice lingers like a weary traveler with a message to tell and it pulls you in instantly. It’s simple and gorgeous with a structure other bands will envy. The best part? It’s not even the last track, though it feels like it very well could be, it’s that epic. The real closer, “Allah, Allah, Allah,” is very much a praise and worship track that the band has been and will most likely continue to play for a long time to come. It’s a true “gather round in a circle” kind of folk track that you will be singing/humming for awhile to come.

Change isn’t always the best thing in music, but I don’t think MeWithoutYou could have done it any better. The progression fromA–>b Life to now is remarkable to say the least. As they’ve grown, so has the music, but they’ve never lost focus of their core sound or foundation and it’s allowed them to make 4 near flawless records. Not everyone will be sold on It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright, but I for sure am. Give it a shot, you won’t be sorry!

Score: 9.5/10

James Shotwell
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