mewithoutYou with Buried Beds and Imaginary Cities
6 p.m. Thursday
ACM@UCO Performance Lab
323 E. Sheridan
Being an experimental rock act, mewithoutYou is no stranger to risk. When writing and recording its fourth album, 2009’s It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright, the band chose to ditch its signature heavy riffs for something that more closely resembled Modest Mouse or Bright Eyes than the post-hardcore bands that had originally informed its sound.
“We’re getting older, and you do go through changes over the years,” guitarist Michael Weiss said. “We’re more inspired by softer music and things that rely on more instrumentation and less electric guitar turned up to 11. I think you need to allow yourself to grow and have a hope that you can do more with music than just one thing. We’ve had that shift happen.”
The disc caught fans off guard, but they can rest easy, knowing that mewithoutYou’s brand-new disc, Ten Stories, harkens back to those earlier days, even titling the lead track “February 1878” as a nod to the group’s breakout single, “January 1979,” from 2004’s Catch for Us the Foxes. Although that softer indie approach lingers, Ten Stories has found a good middle ground between the band’s new and old selves.
“I think part of the growth was in realizing what our strengths were and feeling good about those strengths, using them to our advantage, rather than continuously trying to reinvent the wheel,” Weiss said. “The last album we did was a bit of an experiment. I think we learned and grew from that, knowing that we could hang onto those concepts while not being afraid to hang with our roots a little bit. We can feel comfortable in the skin we’ve grown for ourselves.”
The record shies away from the spiritual, lyrical themes that marked all prior releases, building from a narrative of a traveling circus that suffered a train crash in 19th-century Montana. The crew is as proud of this record as it has been in a long time and cannot wait to share it with fans Thursday night at the ACM@UCO Performance Lab.
“I have a good feeling about the album as a whole. It feels like we made a record that represents the culmination of all the years we’ve spent together as a band. It doesn’t feel forced,” Weiss said. “It’s like having a new outfit, and I can’t wait to wear it out in public.”