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mewithoutYou - Brother, Sister (Cover Artwork)

mewithoutYou

mewithoutYou: Brother, SisterBrother, Sister (2006)
Tooth & Nail Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: InaGreendaseBrian
(others by this writer | submit your own)

A serious difference occurs between Christian bands and bands composed of Christians. Enough lyrical themes inhabit mewithoutYou's Brother, Sister to suggest the act falls into the former of these groups, as does their history and association with the Tooth & Nail label (who themselves have denied s.
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A serious difference occurs between Christian bands and bands composed of Christians. Enough lyrical themes inhabit mewithoutYou's Brother, Sister to suggest the act falls into the former of these groups, as does their history and association with the Tooth & Nail label (who themselves have denied strictly Christian ties while signing a number of arguably Christian-oriented acts). In punk rock, this creates a most disconcerting clashing of conflicts -- we saw it this past summer among the divisive Warped Tour lineup, notably between NOFX's Fat Mike and Tooth & Nail's own, Underoath.

But what happens when the band themselves manage to avoid preachy overtones and simultaneously create expansive, entrancing and mesmerizing soundscapes? What happens when the way they discuss their faith merely becomes a vivid series of metaphors and occasional Bible storytelling, personal observances and confessions rather than directive fundamentalism?

What happens is a great album is written. What happens is Brother, Sister.

Quite arguably, mewithoutYou have produced their best effort to date in Brother, Sister. In toning down much of their past aggressive post-hardcore nature in exchange for atmospheric, brooding and yet dynamic indie rock, it's hard to resist labeling the band as having "matured," but that would be underwriting the ambition undertaken on the album.

"Messes of Men" proves frontman Aaron Weiss's voice is surprisingly fragile when expressed in more hushed tones rather than anxious speeches and paranoid shouting -- and this revelation occurs in more than one spot. In "Messes of Men" itself, soft acoustic licks eventually integrate a plethora of more orchestral instruments and at some point brings to mind a more lush, dramatic Decemberists. The introducing style of the song begins a recurring theme, providing a backbone for tracks titled "Yellow Spider," "Orange Spider" and "Brownish Spider" in which Weiss repeats the same basic melody and lyrical base with a few obvious replacements.

The band's vague Dischord influence of yore does come into play quite a few times, but when combined with their softer, wider post-rock referencing moments, makes for quite a dynamic pairing ("A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains") that hardly seems to draw "too" much from either. "Nice and Blue (Pt. 2)" is a more or less rewritten and re-recorded version of its earlier appearance on 2002's [A --> B] Life, and helps play into a revolving number of melodies and lyrics that pop up throughout Brother, Sister. Surely, Weiss lets slip a now rare Fugazi similarity when he shouts seemingly offhand in the chorus of "In a Market Dimly Lit."

`90s emo pioneer and fellow Christian Jeremy Enigk offers guest spots on two songs here, and his performances are, in a word, incredible. In the chorus of "The Dryness and the Rain," his eerie voice brings to mind his inflection on the post-reunion Sunny Day albums. The same could be said for his absolutely haunting yet enchanting line of "in darkness your light shiiines / on / me" in "O, Porcupine" -- until he lets out a breathtaking, eyes-clenched emotional scream, channeling the most wrenching moments off 1994's Diary. The songs are great on their own, but Enigk brings a whole new element to each that make them all the more compelling.

"C-Minor" is another of Brother, Sister's assured standouts. The flawless transition to the chorus, where Weiss is eventually found pleading to his Lord "do whatever makes me love you more" *should* make even the most secular of listeners join in his pleas. Weiss even seems to either poke fun at exaggerated ideology or question his own practices with the offbeat remark of "I'm still technically a virgin after 27 years, which never bothered me before / what's maybe 50 more?"

The fruits of mewithoutYou's labor come to, well, fruition in the epic, beautiful closer of "In a Sweater Poorly Knit." Upon layered, ringing guitars comes tense but paced acoustic strumming to usher in the track. Pretty harp strings -- if I'm not mistaken -- and a chorus of yearning "ahhh"s help provide a lightness to Weiss' nervous singing, but the powerful line "the trap I set for you seems to have caught my leg instead" really helps the song stand out. A chorus eventually leaves Weiss singing "I do not exist / only You exist" alone and the harp plucking away to close the song. A rather breathtaking ending in all.

Even those who don't overanalyze and choose to derive all sort of sordid meanings from the Bible recognize that it contains some rather well-written, creative and impressive types of stories. Is it so much to ask to regard Brother, Sister in much the same way? Develop your own set of morals, but recognize that when another's relies on a completely different base, the mere practice of expressing it can be a whole 'nother fascinating, intriguing set of notes -- as, without a doubt, Brother, Sister is.

STREAM
The Dryness and the Rain
A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains
Nice and Blue (Pt. 2)
C-Minor

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
drugmoney (November 24, 2010)

this album is simply amazing, just so so so good.

thesidekicksuicide (July 2, 2008)

this is one of the first albums I've ever said is truly perfect

shot_in_the_dark (November 9, 2006)

this record is gorgeous. absolutely gorgeous.

stricken (October 20, 2006)

shit forgot the score

stricken (October 20, 2006)

i fuckin love this band...

Anonymous (October 9, 2006)

to the below poster.

you own, haha.

nuff said.

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

"fuck this band. its all about joan of arc. and before you get story from shit local paper, how about talking to nate himself. then youll hear how fucked this so called christian band is. oh and how all the fans for this band are christian, homophobic, nazis. eat it. long live joan of arc!!!"

don't get your panties in a bunch. i said the newspaper could be wrong, and I will try my best to contact nate to find out what truly happened.

o and calling the fans of mewithoutyou...christian, homophobic and nazis is just ignorant. don't stereotype you cunt.

Anonymous (October 6, 2006)

-to the below poster

that was the point

Anonymous (October 5, 2006)

to the below poster -

what you just wrote was as redundant and pointless as the comments you quoted.

Anonymous (October 5, 2006)

wow, you've just said the same thing, everyone else said. so why bother.

its the reviewers and the people commenting that fucked.

reviewer-this album sucks, and i knew it was gonna suck before i listened to it, so i wasn't surprised

the commenters "I love this band" "fuck this band" who cares. if you like it, good for you, if you don't oh well, don't listen. taste is relative. What did you listen to when you were 10 years old? Do you still listen to it? If it speaks to you, or your heart, or it makes you tap you foot, sweet. Enjoy!

if not, move on.

i hearby give up on even reading reviews on the slanted little site.

Anonymous (October 5, 2006)

fuck this band. its all about joan of arc. and before you get story from shit local paper, how about talking to nate himself. then youll hear how fucked this so called christian band is. oh and how all the fans for this band are christian, homophobic, nazis. eat it. long live joan of arc!!!

Anonymous (October 4, 2006)

I've been following this band since before they were on Tooth and Nail (the I Never Said I was Brave EP) and although I confess CFUTFs was not my cup of tea, it just seemed like they didn't know where they wanted to go musically. Now they do. And this is the product. The guest vocals by Jeremy, and percussion by the Psalters, was just the icing on the cake for me.

This is probably one of the most compelling bands to come around in the last 5 years. I didn't say there were the GREATEST band.... i said COMPELLING. Go see them play live, and talk to them, and you will understand what I mean by this...

The negative, the various colored spiders on the corresponding leaves, I heard that Aaron just learned to play guitar, and he wrote them, and blah blah blah, but really, I thought they were just filler to me.

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

"they refused to play for fans unless some of the idiots in the crowd offered testimony on nate. they are not friends and tim often mocks mewithoutyou during shows. the only reason they played together is because a member in this shit band liked joan of arc and asked them to play. tim did , just to mock the christians and try to push the limits. 90% of the shit fans started calling tim "gay" and "sinner". now thats funny. stupid christians."

funny how the news article I read about the incident reports quite the opposite.

http://www.chicagoreader.com/TheMeter/050909.html

the news article could be wrong.

long live the kinsellas!!!

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

O and I love gay people. Nothing wrong with homosexualism.

Anonymous (October 3, 2006)

I like mewithoutYou and joan of arc/make believe. I care about the music not what happened at a show. People make mistakes. So whatever happened, happened. Make love to the present, fuck the past!

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

i am going to pick this up, hav enot heard it yet.

who cares if this band wants to sing christian-themed lyrics?

who cares if propagandhi wants to sing political lyrics?

if you don't like it, don't listen and stop complaining. i think bands have that right to sing/write about whatever the fuck they want to.

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

the score is for this nazi homophobic band. joan of arc is alive and well. thank god.....hahahaha

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

its the fans , idiot....the fans reek of bullshit. long live joan of arc

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

joan of arc, whos the fool.....hahahahahaha. listen to make believe now!

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

Allure all those posts were made by the same person, hes not fooling anyone

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

to the comment below: whats their "dangerous ideology"- don't kill or steal and take care of your fellow man.

Nazi's ideology is that the white race is the supreme race but chritians main ideology is to love others and do unto them as they would do unto you. so
your comment is very ignorant and you are hating on christians cause they read a book and see the words as the truth...hmmmn where else does that happen? oh yeah you just did the same thing. your views seem more inline with the nazis than any christian. think about that

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

Anyone who attacks anti-Christians on this site for supposedly being closed-minded should pick up Richard Dawkins' newest book, "The God Delusion," and read the "Why so hostile?" chapter. Nazis may be entitled to their opinions, but I'm also entitled to the intense desire to stomp their dangerous ideas into the dust. So I am also entitled to do to Christians, whose ideology is demonstrably more dangerous and insidious.

Allular (October 2, 2006)

"they refused to play for fans unless some of the idiots in the crowd offered testimony on nate. they are not friends and tim often mocks mewithoutyou during shows. the only reason they played together is because a member in this shit band liked joan of arc and asked them to play. tim did , just to mock the christians and try to push the limits. 90% of the shit fans started calling tim "gay" and "sinner". now thats funny. stupid christians."

I'm pretty sure that didn't happen. Anyone that knows the character of mewithoutYou would know that would never happen. I'm sorry, but that post reeks of bullshit.

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

fuck this band. listen joan of arc! id piss on these guys also. joan of arc. all hail the mighty joan of fucking arc.

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

nate is my bro, but i hear he is not down w/ that jesus guy.

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

nate's the man!

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

Nasty nate and the sweaty balls

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

one more time but not the last.....joan of arc, joan of arc, joan of arc. mewithoutjesus. joan of fucking arc

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

id like to baptize these guys w/ the sweat from my balls. hahahahaha.

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

666 motherfuckers 666. hail make beleive. into the flames w/ joan of arc

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

the new ap states that make believe is at battle w/ evryone. my moneys on tim. let the shit bands start falling. lets start w/ this fake christian homophobic band. kill them dead. hail satan!

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

joan of arc all the way!!!

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

id be pissed if i was in this band and checked this review. you might as well take it down and put up a review for make believes "of course". if i was part of the joan of arc family id laugh my ass off when i saw this. every post is about make believe. every post. except for the jesus dudes preaching about sin.

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

score is for make believe and joan of arc.

Anonymous (October 2, 2006)

they refused to play for fans unless some of the idiots in the crowd offered testimony on nate. they are not friends and tim often mocks mewithoutyou during shows. the only reason they played together is because a member in this shit band liked joan of arc and asked them to play. tim did , just to mock the christians and try to push the limits. 90% of the shit fans started calling tim "gay" and "sinner". now thats funny. stupid christians.

Ianw (October 1, 2006)

i can't get past this bands name.

Allular (October 1, 2006)

I don't know what the big deal is with that dude and the whole Joan of Arc/Make Believe deal. I'm under the understanding that mewithoutYou and Make Believe are buds.

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

Make Believe does rule. I never heard Tim offer to battle these losers, but I did hear a podcast where he offered to battle everyone at Pitchfork.

-William

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

how dare you mention fugazi in this shit review. off w/ your head. make believe is all that counts.

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

this band is shit. id like to have each band member arrested for being an idiot. the blind leading the blind. make believe. hahahahaha

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

actually tim offered to fight any one from the band and all of the shit fans.hahahahaha

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

make believe will kick your as. hahahahahaha

greyicewater (October 1, 2006)

""Get over yourself thinking your important enough to get preached at... because you aren't."

HAHA great comment by someone. So like, someone's soul isn't worth saving? Thats what that sentence really means. If and when christians don't want to preach to me (happens often), they think i'm not worth saving from eternal torture. Thanks a lot! :)"

haha, your comment is funny because you make a good point.

but it also made me want to say there is no such thing as eternal torture. if people actually read a bible instead of just going by what someone in a church told them they could see that. oops, i just got preachy.

and this dude who keeps going off about make believe and joan of arc is an idiot. i think you need to get over what happened at that show. i'm sure that they have.

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

id like to get real sweaty and ring my underwear out on the heads of this band and all of the stupid fans. id go to jail for 3 months just to do it. long live nate kinsellas, just for having the balls(and sweat) to accomplish this evil task. fuck this shit band. long live joan of arc. long live make believe.

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

its all about the new make believe.

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

this band is homophobic and i hear they love jesus. what faggots

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

id like to beat the shit out of the drummer.

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

be real and buy the new make believe. this band eats poop

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

instead listen to make believe and be a real fan of good music. fuck these guys, and the reviewer.

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

this band is a waste. a waste of life. fuck them

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

you cant be punk and christian. are you a moron? thats like being a filthy pig and eating bacon all day. fuck this shit band and lets just hope they fail at everything the ever do. i know, maybe a crash on the wayto the next bible study. fuck fat asshole mike while im at it. hahahaha

Anonymous (October 1, 2006)

fuck this shit band. its all about the joan of fucking arc. long live make believe. this ones for you nate kinsellas. fuck this fake ass , shit eating, band of christian brothers. hahahahaha

awkward (October 1, 2006)

"Get over yourself thinking your important enough to get preached at... because you aren't."

HAHA great comment by someone. So like, someone's soul isn't worth saving? Thats what that sentence really means. If and when christians don't want to preach to me (happens often), they think i'm not worth saving from eternal torture. Thanks a lot! :)

awkward (October 1, 2006)

"Get over yourself thinking your important enough to get preached at... because you aren't."

Corndog (October 1, 2006)

Aaron comes from Jewish and I believe Islamic background from his mother and father, which is what i really think makes his lyrics so different from other "christian" bands lyrics. im not religious at all, but I can respect the gift that he has for writing, and I also find him to be one of the top lyricists presently because of his imagery and just attention to detail.

Anonymous (September 30, 2006)

heres my thing, christianity are founded on the basic principles of humanity something everyone, whether you believe in god or not, should follow such as "thou shall not kill". "rules" that EVERY decent human being abides by so why would someone be hated for that? cause they choose to believe these rules come from a higher power rather than ones own conciousness? yeah I know that there are christians out there doing things in the name of "christianity" that are just plain wrong, but hey there are muslims out there doing things in the name of "islam" that are just as bad, and people doing things in the name of the law, that are fucking illegal. I guess people forget this very important aspect of humanity (that God, allah, buddha or our concsious) gave us, its called "free will" the ability to do what you want regardless of its right or wrongness. for all those out there that claim to hate "religion" because it breeds hate or intolerance let me remind you that race, culture, class, and just about every other thing in the world does the same damn thing. what it really is, is just plain old ignorance and intolerance.

For christianity at least the golden rule is "treat others as you would have them treat you" and "judge not, lest you be judged" so if someone is not following those mantras, they can call themselves whatever they want, but actions speak alot louder than words, and they are not really being what they claim to be. so my point? dont stereotype anyone for any reason, its ignorant and innacurate, individuals decide how they will act, irregardless of their religion, race, or any other factor, meaning: we all DO think for ourselves.

Anonymous (September 30, 2006)

why do punks hate hippies? i just want to know.

Anonymous (September 30, 2006)

love the music, not a huge fan of the "singing". but what i don't understand is how most people on this site can complain about christian bands "preaching" their beliefs or singing about them or whatever. don't most punk bands "preach" what they believe as well? i'm not saying they're right, i'm not saying any band's lyrics are really right. they're opinions. beliefs. if you were a lyricist who believed strongly in something, wouldn't it come out naturally in your music? there are so many kinds of punk bands nowadays... you don't have to be an anarchist, a capitalist, a communist, a christian, etc. you can believe and sing about what you want... i'm sorry, but i thought that's what punk rock was all about...

arrhythmia (September 30, 2006)

car real big
house real big
dick real big
everything real big

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

Bravo!! It is about time this band was recognized as what they are... STELLAR! I found it quite ironic that the new cursive album, which is the most "preachy" album I have ever heard, was so highly applauded. Where as I found this disc to be rather trite and uninspired, atleast lyrically ( In comparison to their past endeavours this CD was a definite step backwars and this is coming from a die hard cursive fan). When the last MeWithoutYou disc and even the latest Thrice CD were reviews they were both hammered from the "punks" out there as being "preachy" christianity. I half expected MeWithoutYou to be curcified (pun not intended) in this latest record. Thank you punknews for giving an honest and unbiased review! Thank you responders for giving honest opinions about this album (for the most part)! This record and band is truly something special, and to miss it because of your own stubborn biases is a shame. Thank you again for proving wrong my worst expectations of this site and this scene.

ryne (September 29, 2006)

I absolutely love this album.
Unlike what others say, it's not preachy.
Amazing.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

free in-store performance in richmond at 7 PM sharp. dont miss it.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

"yeah. i am sick of this fucking band's christian lyrics. find something else to write about! it's getting old. it sucks, becuase if they weren't trying to brainwash me into joining their bullshit religion, i would probably enjoy this band."

You're a fucking idiot. Read the lyrics to this album and show me where they preach at you. They reference Christian ideas, they reference God, but nowhere does it sound like a 'Christian' song or a hymn or whatever you want to call it. The songs just show Aarons struggles through life and how God (not even so much religion, just God in general...) affected that. That doesn't make me want to join a religion... Even Jeremy Enigk realized that while they were Christian-themed lyrics they came from a different place than trying to preach, they were more like prayers.

Get over yourself thinking your important enough to get preached at... because you aren't.

vjonnyv (September 29, 2006)

This record is awesome. It's my favorite record this year. It's amazing how penetrating it was when I first listened to it.

vocalyouth (September 29, 2006)

Start at Diary, anoymous.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

I think you should start by listening to their music first.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

i want to get into sunny day real estate, where should i start?

xtomhallx (September 29, 2006)

this band is playing a free show tonight in my town, i might go.

vocalyouth (September 29, 2006)

this is not multiple albums. that's what i get for pointing out someone elses typo. i stink.

this album doesn't.

vocalyouth (September 29, 2006)

This album is incredible. I don't know what is up with the dude who says "fuck this band" but then talks about "joan of fuckin ark" Joan of ARK?! Have the Bible on the mind, buddy?

Anyway, this albums is a great mix of the agression of a-->b life and the big, epic sweeping soundscapes of catch for us the foxes. The backing vocals from Jeremy Enigk are thte icing on the cake for me. Also the harp from Timbre on the last spider song and "A Sweater Poorly Knit" are a really nice touch. This will probably be my favorite album this year.

brixtongunman (September 29, 2006)

This band can write some pretty good music, but the lead singer's voice just kills it for me.

ben_conoley (September 29, 2006)

I really, really like this band.

sirens (September 29, 2006)

here we go with the huge posts and preachy garbage. This CD is good, its nothing like old mwY. I really enjoy it, but I can see why alot of fans wont.

colin (September 29, 2006)

i generally do not like christian bands but this one has defied the odds for me, at least in [a] to [b] life. the last album was a trainwreck of badness... we'll see about this one.

joeymagnet (September 29, 2006)

Frodus were a 'christian' band ladies and gents....and Frodus fucking slayed.

I've liked what I've heard from these guys. I can not usually say that about 'christian' bands.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

This is an amazing band. Punknews.org Recommends !

http://punknews.org/recommendations

indie_is_better_than_punk (September 29, 2006)

yeah. i am sick of this fucking band's christian lyrics. find something else to write about! it's getting old. it sucks, becuase if they weren't trying to brainwash me into joining their bullshit religion, i would probably enjoy this band.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

I wish people would stop adding the Christian label to this band. It doesn't get in the way of their music and really, there's christian references everywhere in art.

Allular (September 29, 2006)

Easily in my Top 10. "In A Sweater Poorly Knit" is worth the price of the album alone.

stevejonestherealbones (September 29, 2006)

i used to think Christian bads (bands that pigeon hole themselves in the christian rock genre, not bands with christians) had bad lyrics that were all the same and uninspired (ironically enough).....

...but then i listened to modern pop punk

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

mxpx bitch

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

www.talkingisntsinging.com

- suck the fuck

Scruffy (September 29, 2006)

Where do you get the info that Tooth And Nail denies strictly Christian ties? I'm not saying, it's wrong, but it would be interesting to know if they've changed. When the label started, it was a strictly Christian label, and they've changed album art before to fit Christian Family stores standards (Zao, Craig's Brother). I've even heard rumor that at least one member of the band need be Christian in order to be signed. I can probably even dig out my old copy of their first five years CD boxed set, where I'm pretty sure the booklet talks about how Ebel started the label to provide a home to bands he saw getting ignored because they were Christian.
Maybe they've changed? Money sure does change a lot.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

fuck this shit band. long live joan of fucking ark. this one again is for you nate"make believe" kinsellas. fuck this shit band. fuck them.fuck them,fuck them. oh yeah....fuck the fans also. hahahahah.

greyicewater (September 29, 2006)

i didn't even know they had a new album coming out. now i'm very excited. they are one of the few "christian" bands i will listen to, and i myself am a christian. i have no problem with those band doing what they do, i just personally don't want to listen to it. but it is different with this band. they don't come off to me as trying to throw it in someones face. the lyrics are very poetic. this review explained it well. so i'll leave it at that.

Anonymous (September 29, 2006)

where the fuck is the new briggs review?

BrendanKelly (September 29, 2006)

WHERE"S THE LUCERO/SAOSIN REVIEWS??????/
:(
pretty good album

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