"It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream! It's Alright."
The title for mewithoutYou's fourth full-length album was like a four step guide to how fans would react to the record. Like the 12 stages of grief.
“It's All Crazy” (released 2009) was a record I had anticipated and was very excited about, but it turned out I was the most disappointed I've ever been in a record. MewithoutYou had such a strong discography up to that point, each record just as good as the last. Each showed growth, and each was a progression of the band getting better and better with each outing. “It's All Crazy” was not just a punch in the stomach, but a knockout blow that leaves you in a coma. I know every band has released an album that feels like your girlfriend is cheating on you, but “It's All Crazy” was more like finding out God doesn't exist.
Ok... That might be taking it a bit far but you get the idea. And honestly, the more I listened to “It's All Crazy,” the more I liked it. There are some great songs on that album and the band deserves a lot of credit for stepping out of their comfort zone and doing something completely new, original, and unexpected. And it's that unexpectedness that made the record such a shock. When you're expecting another killer post-hardcore album and end up with an indie/folk/acoustic album...You can see where disappointment rears its ugly little head.
Three years, a minor break, lots of shows, and mewithoutYou is back with “Ten Stories,” their first independent release. The best part about picking up this album is one really has a clue what to expect. Where would mewithoutYou go musically on this opus? Or maybe more to the point, where would lead vocalist Aaron Weiss go lyrically?
“Ten Stories” is a balance of sorts. It doesn't feel like the band returning to their old sound but there are elements that remind me of “Catch For Us the Foxes” and “Brother Sister.” But that folk/gypsy/indie quality still seems to be the driving force behind “Ten Stories” but the way the band channels that is completely different from “It's All Crazy.”
“February 1878” sets the tone of this record quite nicely. It introduces you to not only the musical direction of the record but it sets the stage for the story Aaron decides to tell throughout “Ten Stories.” The intro riff is biting and raw and tracks moves at a steady pace, like a train chugging down the tracks. And while the intro and first part of the track remind of “Brother Sister,” the song changes tone and evolves. The middle section sounds like a full band version of the “Spider Chronicles.” It's a balance that the album carries throughout.