It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright
The ungainly title of Me Without You’s 2009 album hints at the eccentricities its tracks contain. Those with a taste for alt-folk fables will find this project the most satisfying release since Joanna Newsom’s Ys. But there’s much more going on here than song-stories about birds, insects and vegetables. Band leader/vocalist Aaron Weiss grapples with big questions of faith and mortality, presenting them in the form of whimsical parables (“The Fox, the Crow and the Cookie,” “The King Beetle On a Coconut Estate”), fervent prayers (“Every Thought a Thought of You”), creepy gospel ballads (“The Angel of Death Came to David’s Room”), and strange travelogs (“Fig With a Bellyache,” ”Cattail Down”). The musical settings are equally exotic, matching quirky acoustic instrumentation with ’60-style brass and background choirs. (The faux-childlike touch of co-producer Daniel Smith can be discerned in all of this.) Beneath its summer camp sing-along ambiance, It’s All Crazy… is a substantial, even profound work that isn’t afraid to amuse, disturb, and enlighten, sometimes at all once.