Pale Horses marks the sixth full-length release from Philadelphia five-piece mewithoutYou. During the 15 years they have been making music together the group has explored a diverse array of sounds, navigating their way through their early raw and emotional post-hardcore tendencies, to more experimental and ambient art-rock. At the face value of their catalogue you could be forgiven for thinking this could be attributed to them searching for their sound. This isn’t to say that musically they have ever been anything short of great. The truth is, their sound has always been a vessel, an ark adapted to carry Aaron Weiss’ carefully crafted narratives.
Following on from 2012 offering Ten Stories, new recordPale Horses is consciously melodic and haunting throughout, comfortably settling between the cracks of the sounds they have previously explored. Bouncing between distorted reverb-laden guitar parts and bursts of simple, yet catchy riffing - often following vocal melodies. Philadelphia producer Will Yip (Citizen, La Dispute, Title Fight) has brought his minimalist and honest approach to recording to the table, strengthening the authenticity of the songs and omitting any signs of overproduction or outside influence.
Wiess’ songwriting doesn’t disappoint as he continues to paint his greyscale imagery with both lyrical and emotive finesse. Themes that have been concurrent throughout their career still exist here; personal loss, disaster, loneliness, and armageddon. A testament to their narrative continuity exists in the track ‘D-Minor’, which serves as a spiritual successor of ‘C-Minor’ from 2008 record Brother, Sister.
Pale Horses doesn’t take a leap of faith in any new direction. It stands solidly within what is a comfortable sound for them. For these reasons this album might appear to fall short of expectations, but the opposite is the true. The record represents over a decade and a half of refinement. It is this refinement which has created mewithoutYou’s most honest release to date.