I can't help but think mewithoutYou's new album Ten Stories is an apology. Just read the first two paragraphs of their current band biography, and you'll see the band acknowledges it's all crazy! as a cliff from which their core fans were forced to jump. The bio even assigns blame to vocalist Aaron Weiss and the departure of their second guitarist, and finally puts forward this particularly damning gem: "the band had entirely forsaken whatever they’d become."
Pardon my taking the Lord's name in vain, guys, but Jesus Christ! Your band biography is supposed to be a promotional tool, not confession! Despite what many fans -- and even the band, apparently -- think, some of my favorite mewithoutYou tracks ever come from it's all crazy!, including "the Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie," "goodbye, I!," and the sonic meteor that is "the King Beetle on a Coconut Estate." But enough about the band's confirmed black sheep album.
Ten Stories sounds like it could be a direct follow-up to Brother, Sister. You can call it a return to form, maybe a rare instance of a band honoring the complaints of its fanbase, but the bottom line is that Ten Stories is a powerful, moody listen with real gravity-- it's rife with all that intangible stuff that made mewithoutYou so undeniable for years. Weiss both purrs and roars, while the band's new instrumentation embraces the organic, folky warmth of it's all crazy! and weaves it into their signature atmospheric heaviness.
Early album standouts are lead single "February 1878" and "Fox's Dream of the Log Flume," which features a guest spot from Hayley Williams, because why not? If you're unsure about mewithoutYou after The-Album-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named, Ten Stories should allay any fears right quick.