Brother, Sister - more than being mewithoutYou's third full-length for Tooth & Nail - is the album that this band's legacy will undoubtedly be built upon. Simultaneously more experimental and accessible than its predecessor Catch For Us The Foxes, Brother, Sister continues along the same vein of atypical progression that this constantly evolving band has mined since their first full-length, [A-->B] Life.
Consolidating the newfound strengths they displayed on Foxes, Brother, Sister proves that this group is no longer interested in making any attempts to fit the mold of a "heavy" band and have almost entirely ditched their post-hardcore sensibilities in favor of a much more laid-back and mellow approach. Those who loved the eccentric, yet aggressive intensity of [A-->B] Life, or even their EP, will be surprised to find that mewithoutYou have dropped much of their aggressiveness, instead constructing an album that further builds upon the intrinsic eccentricity that their newer fans have come to love.
Brother, Sister's song structures follow the same mold as Catch For Us The Foxes: jazzy, almost spoken-word verses that consistently give way to driving, yet intricately layered choruses. One listen to this record reveals that attention to detail is a noticeable priority with this band. Many different instruments not normally associated with rock music are employed quite liberally here - yet always tastefully so. Subtle strains of the accordion provide the undercurrent for tracks such as "In A Market Dimly Lit" and "In A Sweater Poorly Knit," while horns propel the progress of "C-minor." Add to these the mesmerizing background vocals, tribal drum tones and subtle guitar effects featured on the entirety of Brother, Sister and mewithoutYou have produced what is easily the most sonically interesting album of their career. Each song is a beautiful canvas upon which lead vocalist Aaron Weiss splashes his poetic lyrics on. His thoughts tend to lean on the abstract, as "Brownish Spider" aptly demonstrates: "Brownish spider, brownish leaf / Confirms my deepest held belief / No more spider, no more leaf / No more me, no more belief."
With Brother, Sister, mewithoutYou have succeeded in releasing an album that is not afraid to play with expectations in order to follow its own strengths - strengths that perhaps the band's audience did not even know it had. The album's greatness is exemplified precisely by what makes it different: A maverick approach to artistry that is sorely lacking in today's Christian music landscape.
Despite its forward-thinking approach and sheer beauty however, Brother, Sister is admittedly not for everyone. Those who aren't experimentally inclined, or aren't big fans of Aaron Weiss's poetic lyricisms, will not appreciate this album or anything else in mewithoutYou's discography. How much the listener appreciates this record is also directly related to whether they enjoyed mewithoutYou's first or second album better. Fans of [A-->B] Life need not apply, for this band no longer adheres to the same musical aesthetic as they did in the beginning. However, those who embraced the left-leaning and cerebral tendencies of Catch For Us The Foxes will easily agree with me that this is one of the best albums of the year!- Review date: 10/16/06, written by Sherwin Frias
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