|In a move that may be shocking to some of our instrumental fans, Burnt Toast Vinyl has issued the vinyl for for mewithoutYou‘s Brother, Sister. They’re everyone’s favorite leftist, biodiesel bus-driving, freegan post-hardcore rockers and all around great guys. We’ve known Aaron and Greg for years, both having played in an earlier band with an ep release on btv in the label’s infancy. Brother, Sister is one of our favorite records of 2006 and we’re very proud to be able to give it a proper release on vinyl. It’s the swan song release of their career–an indie rock opus that challenges their listening base, utilizing lush layers of melody, mixing in a bit of post-hardcore style, and quickly shifting gears back and forth, creating a unique amalgam of styles.“I do not exist,” mewithoutYou frontman Aaron Weiss mutters to open the band’s third full-length, Brother, Sister, setting the tone for an album that explores cosmological, existential, and interpersonal crises with equal aplomb. However, while Weiss has become known for his stream-of-consciousness lyrics communicated via his half-sung/half-shouted vocals, Brother, Sister is a huge progression for Weiss personally, as well as the rest of the Philadelphia-based band—guitarist Michael Weiss, guitarist Christopher Kleinberg, bassist Greg Jehanian and drummer Rickie Mazzotta.In a musical landscape dominated by genre divisions and marketing campaigns,Brother, Sister is simply an album made by five people who create art without any limitations—and that’s what makes it so important. While the album retains mewithoutYou’s instantly recognizable post-hardcore sound, Weiss’ vocals and the implementation of atypical instrumentation are the most instantly recognizable shifts from 2004’s Catch For Us The Foxes. “A lot of our old stuff is all shouting and that’s still there,” explains Weiss. “But I’ve never really listened to heavy music; with this record, my goal was to make music that I wanted to listen to. Not everyone agreed at first, but I wanted to incorporate different types of melodies and instrument—and those are probably some of my favorite moments on the record.”
While Foxes and mewithoutYou‘s debut [A -> B Life] were rife with delay-driven guitars, explosive drumming and driving songs, the beauty of Brother, Sister alternately lies in its subtleties. Opening with a lone Wurlitzer and minimal percussion, “Masses of Men” crams more emotion into three-minutes than screaming ever could; “The Dryness and the Rain” incorporates an middle-eastern orchestra for its chorus; and the quasi-ballad “A Sweater Poorly Knit” is probably the most epic song the band have ever crafted, featuring acoustic guitar, accordion, harp, flugelhorn, and trombone into a musical journey that shifts from beautiful to foreboding and back again seamlessly. The harp and organic imagery easily call to mind Joanna Newsom’s Milk Eyed Mender. “And it’s light and dark as honeydew and pumpernickel bread”, “Take the fingers from your flute, weave your colored yarns, and boil down your fruits to preserves in mason jars”, “The books are overdue and the goats are underfed” are phases that exemplify some sort of simplistic freak folk poetic mastery.
This is a beautifully instrumented album featuring flugelhorn and trombones from members of Anathallo (Nettwerk), upright bass from Orlando Greenhill of Create! (Sounds Are Active), beautiful harp playing from Nashvile based Timbre, tribal drumming/vocals from psalters, and vocals from Jeremy Enigk. The rich production was done by Brad Wood who has also produced albums for Codeine, Seam, Sunny Day Real Estate, Liz Phair, Hum, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Sea and Cake. At home on the vinyl, the drums especially sound warm and monstrous. It’s a deluxe format white vinyl with an oversized poster lyrics insert that does justice to the cover painting from Vasily Kafanov.
mewithoutYou has toured extensively over the past two years with bands such as Thursday, The Blood Brothers, Coheed and Cambria, Minus the Bear, Brand New, Sparta, Piebald, Jeremy Enigk, and Burnt Toast Vinyl’s own Unwed Sailor.
“The ultimate result of listening to Brother, Sister–other than the nagging temptation to…listen to it all over again–is the realization that mewithoutYou have written an album that will be with our generation for quite some time to come. And, trust us; we don’t normally say shit like that.” –Jason Schreurs, Wonka Vision