Friday, 15 February 2008
mewithoutYou - [A-->B] Life
mewithoutYou have always been a band that have been misunderstood and mislabelled as a “Christian” band. Yet even the most hard-hearted atheist should be able to appreciate the lyrical genius of Aaron Weiss: his ruminations on faith, love and life are well thought-out, passionate and intensely personal. It is clear that his views on religion are well informed, intelligent and honest, far from the imagined black-and-white ethical system that so many misinformed Dawkins-worshippers jump to criticise. Lyrically as well as musically, there is an interlinked trajectory to be noted in mewithoutYou’s discography: the first two albums show increasingly searching reflections on faith, showing the difficulties and moral tests Aaron has faced on the path to finding God. Meanwhile the latest offering, Brother, Sister, is a more mellowed-out effort with a new-found penchant for lush instrumentation, its lyrics suggesting that while Aaron still faces plenty of tests, he has also found many answers to the questions posed on earlier albums. As such, [A→B] Life is a more endearing album to many fans, because, as the raging and yearning beginnings of mewithoutYou, listeners find themselves searching and asking questions alongside Aaron. Musically, it is far rawer than its successors, with an increased emphasis on post-grunge-isms and raging punk-esque guitars, while Aaron is more likely to be found screaming his heart out than speaking soft spoken word passages. The main element that makes the album what it is, however, is Aaron’s incredible lyrics: there are still ponderings on spirituality here, but what is more evident is a theme that is familiar to everyone, believers and non-believers alike, and is thus instantly relatable: love. Throughout the album there are so many eloquent passages that send instant shivers down the spine – take the line in ‘Silencer’ “She put on happiness like a loose dress/Over pain that I’ll never know” or ‘Gentlemen’s declaration of “And I’ll live without your love/But what good is one glove without the other?” Aaron’s poesy is made all the more authentic by his honesty: he is unafraid to admit that he is imperfect, that he makes the same mistakes that everyone makes in his relationship both with other people and with God. His impassioned delivery adds to the power of his lyrics, frenetically mumbling over spine-tingling breaks in the music. The beauty of his lyrics here is that many of us have felt exactly what he feels, while he communicates his problems in a way that is simultaneously breathtaking and heartbreaking. mewithoutYou have, to this day, maintained a near-flawless discography that is as affecting as it is essential. Whatever your beliefs, mewithoutYou are more than merely a band to check out – they are a band that you need in your life.
Download three tracks from this album here.