Teary-eyed intentions are set in place almost instantly as ‘Pale Horse’ opens proceedings with staggering ambience and downtrodden poetic vocals before ‘Watermelon Ascot’ slams a tad harder with rollicking chords and deadpan delivery. The band has a serious knack for conveying emotion without being overtly pushy, and the somber tones that spill themselves over tracks like ‘Mexican War Streets’ are a refreshing and despondent touch that sets them apart from any of the other bands making sad music right now.
At no point across its running time does it feel like ‘Pale Horses’ is demanding your attention. It doesn’t possess gimmicks or novelties, yet still sticks with you like nothing else can. Captivating without being boastful ‘Magic Lantern Days’ swoons with acoustic tenderness and ‘Lilac Queen’ entangles you in dual vocal stabs and kooky guitar hooks. Closer ‘Rainbow Signs’ is the overbearing highlight of the album as it sees things out in suitably low-key style with engulfing keys and muttered sadness before building into a rickety wall of noise. As the last notes fade out, you realise you are broken, you are silent but you are enriched. The way that all exceptional music should make you feel.
Unsettling, heartbreaking and inspiring, ‘Pale Horses’ manages to delve into each of these piercing areas across its running time without flinching once. Every once in a while, an album comes to the forefront that manages to take on a form much deeper than just a collection of instruments and lyrics. The songs mewithoutYou have created are as painstakingly human as they are sonically engaging and cloaked thickly in melancholia and mesmerizing beauty, ‘Pale Horses’ will still have the ability to surprise you as much on the 100th listen as the first. Essential stuff.
‘Pale Horses’ by mewithoutyou is out now on Run For Cover Records (US) and is released on 24th July on Big Scary Monsters (UK)
Words by Jack Rogers (@JackMRog)