Sound: MewithoutYou is the sort of band that slips below the radar. That doesn't mean they aren't good. It just means the general, boring, normal masses of the earth can't quite grasp how awesome they are.
When I first heard of them, it was through the song "Elephant In The Dock" off "Ten Stories". I loved it straightaway. So I bought the whole album - and at first, I wasn't so sure, because there's a fair amount of screaming involved - but then you realize, HEY, this is GOOD screaming! And it is, too. MewithoutYou's style of screaming is innovative, really - it's like a poetry reading, but done to great music. The lyrics in "Fox's Dream Of The Log Flume" blew my mind. Aaron Weiss, who does lead vocals, is like no other singer I've ever heard - he manages to make raw-throated yelling sound perfectly awesome, even though he's not a great singer. And I'm sorry, but no other singer in the world can scream just like he can.
My impression of their sound is like punk-rock, folk, and Arcade Fire all rolled into one weird, glorious package. Their sound changed a lot since "A To B Life", their first album, where it was basically all talking-poetry-reading, to "Ten Stories", which is mostly singing with some screaming thrown in. Both sides of them, the melodic and screamy, are fantastic in quite different ways. And not only are the lyrics, screaming, and singing great, the instrumentals and melodies are great, too. They balance everything with uncanny skill, and the result is like nothing I've ever heard. Ten Stories brings together everything they're good at and wrings out eleven nearly perfect songs.
A lot of it is drums and guitars, but they integrate a crapload of other instruments in, too. In "Bear's Vision Of St. Agnes", there are trumpets and strings and who the hell knows what else - just when you think MewithoutYou is all about distortion guitars and stuff, they pull out their harps and accordions and it's like Arcade Fire has run into screamo.
Aaron Weiss's voice takes a bit of getting used to. He's not exactly the best 'singer' in the world, but yet, his voice is extremely pleasing if you hear it in a certain way. Especially when he starts his poetry-reading screaming interludes. His voice is a bit dry and funny and annoying at the first, but it does fit to a T in what style of music they're doing.
OVERALL SOUND: 10
I may be extremely biased since they're my favorite band, but I really can't find a fault with their sound. I love almost every song - from "Bullet To Binary" to "East Enders' Wives". They're completely innovative and form their own genre, which you could call alternative but lingers on the edges of about a million other things. iTunes was confused, and called their genre 'Inspirational'. Well, that's true, too, I guess. // 10
Lyrics: LYRICS: 10
MewithoutYou's lyrics border on pure poetry. Some of it is so mind-blowingly deep it steals your breath away. Just listen to "Fox's Dream Of The Log Flume" and you'll see what I mean. I can honestly say they have the best lyrics of any band I've ever listened to.
I will rate all the songs for you. Now this is just my opinion, based solely on how enjoyable I found them to be. Don't curse me if you disagree...
"February, 1878": 9/10
"Grist For The Malady Mill": 10/10
"East Enders Wives": 9/10
"Cardiff Giant": 8/10
"Elephant In The Dock": 10/10
"Fox's Dream Of The Log Flume": 10/10
"Nine Stories": 10/10
"Fiji Mermaid": 9/10
"Bear's Vision Of St. Agnes": 10/10
"All Circles": 9/10 // 10
Overall Impression: The album "Ten Stories" is by far their best album to date. You like screaming? You like knock-me-dead lyrics? You like incredible instrumentals? "Ten Stories" is for you. My favorite song is "Elephant In The Dock", for some reason, which I adore to the depths of my strange little soul. But the end part of "Nine Stories" blows my brain every time I hear it, and I love the lyrics of "Fox's Dream Of The Log Flume", and "East Enders' Wives", and "Bear's Vision Of St. Agnes". "Ten Stories" is a weird little world of its own, and it's wonderful to get lost in the songs and listen to this bizarre group do their awesome thing.
So, there you are! That's my long rambling review of a not-well-known album by a not-well-known group. If you already love MewithoutYou, then I urge you to keep on lovin' them. If you don't love them yet, go listen to their songs to complete your life, you fool! // 10