Philly Band mewithoutYou Brings Its Adventurous Mix of Post Hardcore, Indie Rock and Math Rock to Cincinnati This Week

Playing Woodward Theater May 22, the dynamic group’s '[untitled]' LP is a knotted morass of meaning that demands a read-through of its Genius page.

May 21, 2019 at 9:39 am

click to enlarge mewithoutYou - Photo: Carina Romano
Photo: Carina Romano
If you weren’t clued in by its lack of a title or its tangly and abstract cover art, then let lyrics like “Hiding inside our painting of a house hung up inside that same painted house which implies another painted house inside” be your warning: mewithoutYou’s [untitled] LP — released last year — is a knotted morass of meaning that demands a read-through of its Genius page.

Following 2015’s Pale Horses — the Post-Hardcore quintet’s attempt at soundtracking the apocalypse — [untitled] attempts (and nobly comes to terms with failing) to make sense of life after frontman Aaron Weiss’ father’s death. Dissonant blasts of fuzz bumps shoulders with shimmery Indie Rock as Weiss’ usual allusions to Abrahamic religion and philosophy orbit themes of madness and mental illness.

Lines are written from the perspective of different characters, like a script. Quotes are lifted from other songs or attributed to the late professional wrestler Nikolai Volkoff. The date July 29 is referenced ceaselessly. For both listener and creator, the [untitled] experience is akin to submerging one’s self in white noise.

“My ground zero is that nothing that I’m saying matters,” Weiss told Bandcamp Daily, “and nothing that I’m saying needs to be believed or accepted by anybody because that’s just not my responsibility in the world, to teach anybody anything.”

Despite its complexity, mewithoutYou’s seventh album is one of its most accessible as a passive listen. Recorded with producer Will Yip (Citizen, Arctic Monkeys, Tigers Jaw), [untitled] hits with clarity whether mewithoutYou weaves Math Rock tapestries or emulates R.E.M. on tracks like “Winter Solstice” and “Tortoises All the Way Down.”

For a band that’s aged enough to embark on 15th-anniversary tours, mewithoutYou remains as puzzling and adventurous as ever, despite curtailing some of the scorched-earth brutality that marked early works like 2002’s [A-->B Life].

Joined by scene veterans Cursive and The Appleseed Cast, their current tour — coming to Over-the-Rhine's Woodward Theater this Wednesday (May 22) — feels like a throwback to Emo’s pre-web 2.0 incarnation, though revitalized interest in the era’s sub-genres allows its participants to sound as fresh as ever.

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