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Album Review: [Untitled] by mewithoutYou

Experimental rock act mewithoutYou release their seventh album [Untitled] on 5th October via Big Scary Monsters. As is par of the course with previous releases, the style isn’t confined by genre. Progression and experimental are key, but most noticeable this might be mewithoutYou’s most accessible release to date.

“It’s a perennial question within the band of how far to push out into the unknown,” says vocalist Aaron Weiss. “Of course it’s nice to do something new, but to what extent, and to what end?”  For ‘[Untitled]’ novelty came naturally. Weiss had become a husband and father and relocated to Idaho, where a makeshift home studio rig and MIDI keyboard facilitated lo-fi, synthetic experimentation. Meanwhile in Philadelphia, guitarists Mike Weiss (Aaron’s brother) and Brandon Beaver stockpiled ideas ahead of the recording session with producer Will Yip. And the addition of Dominic Angelella—who took up bass duties while Greg Jehanian was on sabbatical (he’s since returned to the band)—gave drummer Rickie Mazzotta the chance to spread out and explore a new sonic palette.

What begat this wealth of material was not just the band’s distance, which allowed its members to write freely, but personal and social matters that forced Weiss to explore himself in a more granular way. “I thought I was going to write a record about the ‘rising political tide,’ but that didn’t happen,” he says. Relational turmoil, including certain tensions within the band, were a more immediate catalyst for creativity, as outside forces pushed Weiss to look inward and focus on the things he could change about himself. “Whenever I pointed a finger ‘out there,’ I tried to pull it back and ask, ‘What does this say about me that I’m having this reaction?’” There was no shortage of material in this self-examination, as Weiss hints at a prolonged, intensely bizarre psychological journey that accompanied the songwriting. When pressed for more detail, he’s uncharacteristically guarded. “I’m usually pretty transparent about what inspired a given project, but that’s not gonna work this time.”

Heart-breaking, personal and immediate in equal measures, [Untitled] is an album that grows with each listen. Some new nuance comes to the fore and you find something new to fall in love with, you’ll want to dance, cry and relax within the duration of one or two tracks. It’s also an album that should be listen to as an album, each track complements each other – shifting focus and emotion to let each track flourish both on its own strength and the strength of its neighbouring tracks.

With that in mind we feel it wouldn’t be right to focus on the tracks and try to reinforce to you the power and gusto of the album as whole. Revel in it’s pop turns, the poetic lyrics and the soaring experimentation. Beautiful stuff.

8/10

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