This ‘Woodenbox’ review was written by Nick Roseblade, a GIGsoup contributor.

Some bands go their entire career living just under the radar. Spending years recording, releasing and touring just on the periphery, getting ready for the moment they unleash their magnum opus. This is what is happening with Philadelphia’s mewithoutYou. Originally formed at the turn of the century by brothers Aaron and Michael Weiss along with Christopher Kleinberg, Ricky Mazzotta and Ray Taddeo started playing around with sounds and mewithoutYou was formed.

Since their inception mewithoutYou have released six albums in thirteen years. Their sixth, Pale Horses is another journey into Aaron Weiss’ psyche. As with previous mewithouYou albums there is a slight tweeking in the sound and style. From their original hard-core roots, this is a lot tamer, but it’s chocked full of melody and catchy hooks. While you could never call this a pop album, a lot of the sound has been smoothed and toned down since 2012’s Ten Stories. Mexican Street Wars sounds like Interpol trying to write a crossover song that would give them maximum chart impact, while keeping their loyal fans happy.

Given the narrative/story based song writing that Weiss uses, this is the most immediate and enjoyable mewithoutYou album to date. D-Minor is a reworking of the track C-Minor from Brother, Sister. The track is ladled with romantic intrigue and clever word play “a borrowed fern with a cigarette burn” being the pick of the litter.

Long standing fans might crave more crunch and bile in the Pale Horses, but lyrically the album is another step forward for this quintet. The compositions are tighter and the lyrics are poignant, but without pretension. Whether this will be the album that finally breaks mewithoutYou with the masses will remain to be seen, given the quality of this, and their previous five albums, everything is definitely sunny with this Philadelphian band, even if the music and lyrics paint a different story.

‘Pale Horses’ is out now on Big Scary Monsters

The full track-listing for ‘Pale Horses’ is as follows…

‘Pale Horse’

‘Watermelon Ascot’

‘D-Minor’

‘Mexican War Streets’

‘Red Cow’

‘Dorothy’

‘Blue Hen’

‘Lilac Queen’

‘Magic Lantern Days’

‘Birnam Wood’

‘Rainbow Signs’

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