Burnt Toast Vinyl
mewithoutYou - It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright LP
Released by Burnt Toast, info from the label:
Over the course of three albums and several hundred mesmerizing shows, audiences have consistently heard something dramatic and altogether different from mewithoutYou. Spirits have been jolted and calmed, in equal measures. It’s all crazy! It’s all false! It’s all a dream! It’s alright! is another daring adventure charted by frontman Aaron Weiss, guitarist Michael Weiss, bassist Greg Jehanian, and drummer Rickie Mazzotta. Much of the mewithoutYou anguish of old has given way to a sense of gentle wonder, as the band and a whole slew of guest musicians have unearthed strange and beautiful sounds that accompany the album’s many marvels. A more tranquil Aaron, following an artistic progression he began on Brother, Sister, has more or less dropped his signature sing-shouting and is now a full-fledged singer. The band remains in left field, but one that continuously draws to them more eccentrics, seekers, and lovers of original music.
It’s all crazy! It’s all false! It’s all a dream! It’s alright! is the culmination of many diverse paths and experiments. The band decided to record close to home, enlisting the help of local producer Brian McTear (Espers, Mazarin) and Daniel Smith (Danielson, Wovenhand, Sufjan Stevens). The plan was to weave disparate threads from communal participation into a cohesive experience.
The Weiss brothers grew up with parents who had converted to Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam. The brothers were brought up attending mosque under Bawa Muhaiyaddeen’s leadership, who emigrated from Sri Lanka in the ’70s and used Philadelphia as a base to spread his take on Sufism to the United States and rest of the world. Singer Aaron Weiss has begun to incorporate aspects of that spiritual tradition into the bands work. Two of the tracks borrow extensively from the guru’s fables and others weave his mystical ideas. From passing references to being arrested at an anti-war peace protest and railroad car jumping to travel cross country and rescue a broken down tour bus to Hebrew folk traditions, the Tao Te Ching, and Rumi to Arabic chants, the lyrics paint a picture of a wandering free spirit embracing a universal goodness and carving his own path.
Musically, the band has nearly abandoned their explosive, calculated post-emo ways, venturing into a more defined indie rock that borrows from influences as diverse as Jewish Klezmer music to Fever and Mirrors era Bright Eyes to mariachi brass in the Neutral Milk Hotel style to Baroque pop. Smith’s expertise is felt on the communal gang vocals and lends a bit of the Danielson color to some backing vocals. This album is increasingly orchestrated with accompaniment scored by Josh Stamper (Sounds Familyre) using an assortment of strings, woodwinds, and brass and finds singer Weiss setting down his guitar on several tracks and picking up an accordion.