mewithoutYou - It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright
Record Label: Tooth & Nail
]Release date: May 19, 2009
Change can be a scary thing to us music fans. Our favorite bands changing directions musically scares us. Label changes (especially to a major label) scare us. Personnel changes scare the living hell out of us. We are also fickle and quick to anger. We profess love for a band, and yet the smallest thing can drive us to be angry towards these same bands we love. If the band skips over our state when they tour, even if they have a good reason, we become angry. If a band doesn't play "that" song, we become incredibly angry. If the band chooses to pursue a more preferable musical path (to them) or the members choose to pursue other interests, we become outraged.
In light of all these things, it is no surprise that mewithoutYou's latest release, It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright, was met with much negative feedback from many longtime fans, ranging from simple disappointment to outright disbelief and anger.
mewithoutYou began as a band with a very rough, raw sound, rather heavy, with vocals comprised primarily of shouts, yelps and the like. But with each album the band underwent an overt transformation. The rough, raw music became cleaner as the band incorporated more and more melody into their music, culminating in their opus Brother, Sister. But they were not done. Even after seemingly perfecting their sound, balancing melody with their former edge to accompany Weiss' excellent lyrical work, they were not content to stand pat.
Which brings us to It's All Crazy!..., their simplest, and yet most diverse, album yet. mewithoutYou's post hardcore roots are nowhere to be found on this album. Weiss' old shouts have been completely supplanted by a simple croon. While the vocals and lyrics still have the stream of consciousness feel, the songs now focus on personified animals and foods in a form much like fables and parables. There isn't a trace of heaviness. The music is, for the most part, light, simple, and happy, lending itself favorably to Weiss' new vocal style.
This album has left many fans scratching their heads and grabbing their pitchforks. In many ways, this is so different from mewithoutYou's previous work that many feel it's not even the same band. The lack of riffs or spazzy shouts, the simpler ideas, and the softer sound are just too much for some fans. But really, much of this is very unsurprising. Besides the steady aforementioned progression, just listen to any of the three "Spider" tracks from Brother, Sister. A quieter croon with some gang lyrics over simple instrumentation, singing of a wild creature. That sounds quite familiar. Indeed, it's the same style as on It's All Crazy!..., especially in the softer and slower track "Cattail Down."
Now, just because the progression was foreseeable does not always mean it was good. But the new folksy, sing-along style is excellent in its own ways. The parable-like "The Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie" is a gem, with simple but meaningful lyrics and message. Indeed, many of the tracks are like fables, telling stories and conveying meanings. Weiss' lyrics are as good as always. They are much simpler, but that simplicity is beautiful and touching, as on opener "Every Though a Thought of You" and on "Goodbye, I", one of the better tracks on the album.
There is also a good deal of zaniness on this album. "Fig With A Bellyache" is bizarre. Not a bad track at all, although the gang vocals between lines grate on the nerves. "Bullet to Binary (Pt. Two)" is one of the faster tracks on the album, actually inspiring movement rather than quiet contemplation. It is also one of the more instrumentally involved tracks, and one of the most fun.
Really, that is what this album is largely about. Fun. Most of the music is fun, with simple music and simple lessons. Sometimes, a simple album is just as good as in incredibly deep album. Unfortunately, this also means not many of the tracks stick out. The main exception is "The King Beetle On A Coconut Estate." It has a soft beginning that builds it up, and then crescendos into a breathtakingly beautiful finish before Weiss' hushed question "Why not be utterly changed into fire?" serves as the finish. If nothing else, one should at least give this track a chance.
Take this album for what it is. Forget the mewithoutYou of the past. Embrace the folksy happiness that this album inspires. Revel in it's ecstasy and simplicity, for that is what makes it beautiful.
i agree with GeeBee, this album was a terrible dissapointment. After they give us three epic albums, they decide to take us to YC Camps and sing songs about faith. On the posative side there are a few good tracks... The first two and the Coconut Estate are in truth incredible songs...