Mewithoutyou - Brother, Sister
MewithoutYou is the kind of band that refuses to remain stagnant from album to album; while they retain their recognizable core elements as a band, no two of their albums sound alike. And Brother, Sister is no exception: it is a cohesive work of art where the songs weave in and out, the lyrics are both softly spoken and emphatically screamed, and the music is no longer limited to guitars and percussions—adding, most notably, a harp and accordion to accompany the band for many of the tracks.
As “Messes of Men,” the first track on Brother, Sister, begins, the sound of falling rain resounds, creating a melancholic mood as lead singer Aaron Weiss speaks somberly, “I do not exist, we faithfully insist.” Following a short introduction from Weiss, he strikes an acoustic guitar and sings with lyrical ingenuity “that dull hook in my lip is a memory as useless as a rod without a wheel.” Rich in metaphors and oceanic imagery, “Messes of Men” is a riveting opening track that is catchy and avoids the monotony of an acoustic song by adding the musical embellishments of church bells and choirs. As the extended instrumental to “Messes of Men” closes, a resounding boom begins “The Dryness and the Rain,” a song who vibrant energy contrasts to the slow tempo and minimal dynamics of the opening track. After a foreign chant led by Weiss, “The Dryness and the Rain” bleeds into “Wolf Am I! (And Shadow)”—a frenetic, offbeat song where Weiss speaks and yells rapidly, shouting lines like, “shadow am I, like a suspicion that’s never confirmed but it’s never denied.” The lyrics on this album are the best mewithoutYou has ever released, writing allegories rich in imagery to develop the mood and setting of the songs, shown specifically in “Wolf Am I! (And Shadow),” one of the album’s greatest triumphs.
Following the prior pair of frantic songs, an accordion resounds and the “Yellow Spider” interlude begins--the first song in a trilogy of brief, melancholic tales spread about the album. As the short interlude ends, the most groundbreaking song on Brother, Sister begins, where mewithoutYou delve further into the experimental aspects of their sound. On “A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains,” a guitar's reverb relays a gurgling effect over Weiss’ whispers, ultimately culminating in a screaming crescendo where Weiss shouts, “Oh you pious and profane put away your praise and blame: a glass can only spill what it contains.” Following a closing guitar solo, the song wanes away into “Nice and Blue Pt. 2” and the solemn “The Sun and the Moon,” which presents Weiss’ exploration of the dichotomy of good and evil.
After “Orange Spider,” which effectively retards the album’s tempo, “C-Minor,” “In a Market Dimly Lit,” and “O, Porcupine” follow, all of which incorporate hard-hitting guitars and percussions, choruses, and additional instrumentation that form the solid backbone of the album. Then the closing track, “In a Sweater Poorly Knit,” is introduced after the final “Spider” interlude concludes. This closer incorporates elements of the opening track by having a short instrumental followed by guitars and then musical embellishments (in this case a harp), exhibiting the cohesiveness of the entire album. While the song begins slowly, almost cautiously, the tempo increases when Weiss sings, “the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead,” a lyric repeated throughout the song. When the accordions and drums and guitars and chants shouting “I do not exist” all die down, only the gentle instrumentation of a harp is heard, slowly growing less audible as Brother, Sister closes with grace and beauty—an accurate portrayal of what the entire album represents.
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on 2007-07-28 blackxdan Said:
This album by mewithoutYou is by far the most mature album they have released. The overall style of the way that they used to play from albums such as '[a ---> b] life' has changed drastically. These guys actually make me feel a tad bit illiterate when i am listening to them, which makes me want to go read a dictionary. But yes, the change with mewithoutYou is definitely a positive one. mewithoutYou doesnt get enough attention that they deserve, but predict within a couple of months, these guys could blow up.