It hardly seems possible that adventurous Post Hardcore riffmeisters mewithoutYou have been around long enough to notch milestone anniversaries, but the Philadelphia quintet coalesced at the turn of the new century and has worked steadily for the past 15 years. The band’s new album (identified on its website as “LP 6,” which could simply be a place-holding designation and not the actual title) is slated for 2015, but its current tour celebrates the 10th birthday of mewithoutYou’s commercial breakthrough, 2004’s Catch For Us the Foxes.
The band’s roots are in The Operation, a late ‘90s group. mewithoutYou was originally a side project composed of brothers Aaron and Michael Weiss on vocals/bass and guitar respectively, guitarist Ray Tadeo and drummer Ricky Mazzotta. Months later, Operation guitarist Christopher Kleinberg joined for mewithoutYou’s debut EP, I Never Said That I Was Brave, leading to a contract with Tooth & Nail and the 2002 full-length, [A
B] Life. The lineup shifted (Tadeo out, bassist Daniel Pishock in) and The Operation dissolved, leaving mewithoutYou as the primary group. The members’ full attention was poured into the Brad Wood-produced, profile raising Foxes, which hit the Top 20 of Billboard’s Heatseekers chart.
Over the subsequent decade, mewithoutYou has experienced other lineup changes — Kleinberg’s intermittent departures and returns, Pishock’s defection, the arrivals of guitarists Greg Jehanian (ex-Operation) and Brandon Beaver — and released a series of acclaimed albums, including 2006’s Brother, Sister, 2009’s It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright and 2012’s Ten Stories. Although mewithoutYou’s lyrics reflect a certain spiritual perspective (and are typified by Aaron’s spoken word/quasi-sung vocal style), the quintet resists being pinned to any particular theology or religious evangelism of any stripe. In fact, many of the group’s songs are drawn not from religious but from literary references (some of these issues were recently explored in Aaron’s conversation with Yoni Wolf of Cincinnati Art Pop crew Why? on Wolf’s popular The Wandering Wolf podcast).
A spin through Foxes today reveals a slightly more complex and lyrically esoteric group, but mewithoutYou’s relevance and visceral impact remain intact on its recent work.
mewithoutYou plays at Southgate House Revival Friday, Oct. 10. Find tickets/more info here .