It’s not often you hear an album described as being accessible and polarizing at the same time, but that’s exactly what happened with it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright, the fourth studio album from mewithoutYou. It’s always been Aaron Weiss’ poetic vision set to post-hardcore that leaned on angst and shouting. But on it’s all crazy, Weiss and company have exchanged that noise for something simpler, as the group focused more on their melodic and folk influences.
Don’t let the lack of riffs and electric guitars fool you though, it’s all crazy is still an intense and passionate mewithoutYou album, just this time it is channeled into pianos, accordions, and lavish compositions. Opening track, “every thought a Thought of You,” is upbeat, as electronic piano chords and a steady drum beat pace Weiss’ poetic verses. The bass lines from Greg Jehanian’s are absolutely pleasant, as it livens up the track even more. Lyrically, Weiss is still exploring theological themes, delving into the Bible and the Qur’an for lyrical inspiration.
But it doesn’t stop there, Weiss has also invested into telling parables, many regarding animals, throughout the album. The best example of this is “the Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie,” which features vibrant acoustic guitar chords, horns, and bells. The addition of violin and subtle plucking round out the track into a delicious piece of music. The experimentation of different musical avenues help develop it’s all crazy into an exciting album.
Older fans of the band will enjoy “bullet to Binary (pt. two)” as Weiss’ vocals come alive against aggressive acoustic chords. Verses like “The potato called from underground “You’ve got it all turned upside down!/Does the rain that sent each spring anew/To fall on her not fall on you?/You project on her your inward scene/She’s a blank external movie screen/But the One who looks out from your eyes/Looks through hers and looks through mine” continue to display the mastery Weiss shows on his lyricism.
The positive nature of “Timothy Hay” shines through on the instrumentation, while “Fig with a Bellyache” presents itself as one of the weirdest yet most intriguing mwY songs ever. “Allah, Allah, Allah” does have a campfire sing-along groove to it, as Weiss exclaims, “In everywhere we look, Allah Allah Allah in everywhere we look.”. But Rickie Mazzotta’s drums boom, and Michael Weiss kicks in one of the few guitar riffs on the album, giving the track a slight, dare I say, Sgt. Peppers’ vibe.
it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all crazy! it’s alright is, as one forum member eloquently put it, “a grower not a shower,” and I happen to agree. It takes a few listens to grasp the lyrical themes and to understand what Weiss and company are trying to accomplish. Weiss’ lyricism focuses a lot on theology as usual, but this time his words aren’t peppered with self-doubt. Instead, animals, nature, fables, and parables tell the story, and it is jarring at first. It’s definitely a different approach, as a lot of the lyrics are simple and nature and repetitive. Musically, this is one of the most ambitious albums of 2009. The musicianship here is incredible. Each song is unique and the instrumentation is beautiful. Kudos to mewithoutYou for staying fresh in a scene where being generic is the norm. The album may come across as crazy, but in the end you’ll realize that’s alright.