Indulged in musical freedom and clutching a profound, yet accessible, lyricism, mewithoutYou have caught many an ear in the past fifteen years. Their new album, titled ‘Pale Horse’ is no stranger to the aforementioned. However, it possesses something new to the Pennsylvania outfit, something of a detachment.
In recent years, mewithoutYou have demonstrated incredible energy mixed with fluent poetic lyricism. 2004’s ‘Catch For Us The Foxes’ encompassed everything that made the band so appealing. ‘Tie Me Up! Untie Me!’ was everything from awe inspiring free guitar work to an emotional abrasiveness that many other genres lacked.
‘Pale Horses’, however, is a different kettle of fish. Not because it lacks everything that made mewithoutYou in 2004, but because it somewhat suppresses it. Tracks such as ‘Birnam Wood’ sees the band’s rhythm section carving out beats and admirable guitar leads as though it was as an everyday occurrence. But, this is nothing new for mewithoutYou.
The most absorbing track on the record, ‘Rainbow Signs’, demonstrates the band at their best. A distant Aaron Weiss on vocals compliments a slow and alluring musical build until the track bursts into a despairing implosion of bass and an ominous guitar lead.
But, it’s the distance and detachment that embodies this record. Weiss rarely feels emotionally forthright, but lurks in the background waiting to paint a picture with a more morose approach. Only on the final track does he escape from the shade to unleash for a brief period.
mewithoutYou try their hand at a less intimate approach this time round. Some may call it lo-fi, others may complain at the lack of audible vocals, but the band has never been one to appease to a certain sound. Instead, they’ve created a sound that touches from a distance, and doesn’t compromise what endeared them to so many.
Written by Calv Robinson (@CalvParty)