mewithoutYou - 'Julia (or, 'Holy to the LORD' on the Bells of Horses)'
Philadelphia five-piece mewithoutYou return with new single 'Julia (or, 'Holy to the LORD' on the Bells of Horses)' a dark, engrossing and enigmatic track of epic proportions.
mewithoutYou are an experimental rock band from Philadelphia. Comprised of Aaron and Michael Weiss, Brandon Beaver, Greg Jehanian and Rickie Mazzotta, they were initially a side project of the Weiss brothers used to experiment with different types of music. In new single 'Julia', the Philadelphia rockers symbolically return to their roots with their juxtaposition of Aaron Weiss's soft spoken word and emotion-packed screams over lasting riffs and a devastating beat, whilst ensuring that their progressive sound stays as unique as ever, due to their trademark blend of spiritual and thought provoking lyrics, and haunting harmonies.
Much of 'Julia' holds references familiar to fans of mewithoutYou; the chorus, for instance, of 'Safely on the shore we sank like stones/ To the bottom of a made up ocean', explores the idea of religious ambiguity, in which the ocean acts as a conceit for God, with the idea of a made up ocean being that of a false religion- which in itself references the band's multi-faith background, often using Jewish, Muslim and Christian imagery in their music- in which believers can drown. Similarly, an early 'So many ways to lose/ So many faiths' references the widespread fears of believing the wrong faith and wrong God, and being punished for it.
But the links don't stop there. As well as previously quoting poet John Donne and Kurt Vonnegut in their work, 'Juliet' encompasses themes of dystopian novel 1984, with '"Send a couple rats" said Julia/ I'd have done the same thing to you', about how Julia and Winston subjected each other to torture to protect themselves; arguably, Aaron Weiss is further exploring religion self-doubt by representing a somewhat damaging relationship with his faith. This lyrical intensity is framed perfectly by both the vocal outcries over the final parts of the sound, Weiss's screams of passion and rage overlaying his softly spoken lyrics, as well as the power of the music behind it; and, although the vocals can be drowned out at times, this only adds to the intrigue, forcing the listener to strain to make out what's being said and thus further surround them in the song.
A truly remarkable piece of music from quite possibly the most unique band I've ever had the pleasure of listening to.
Words by James O'Sulivan