Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr At some point, mewithoutYou might make an album where they just chill. They might do a low-key album where they talk about girlfriends or a break-up or maybe just Friday night. They might, but it doesn’t seem likely. Driven by Aaron Weiss’ intense vision and the band’s complex version of post-hardcore sounds, the group never sounds comfortable. On new album [Untitled]—not to be confused with the similarly-titled EP from this summer—the group takes some musical cues from their own past while moving into new experiments, making for their densest and most demanding record yet. After the brighter indie-rock of 2009’s It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright, mewithoutYou has turned back to their musical roots (leaving that album as either a linchpin or an anomaly in the band’s oeuvre). Weiss gives more of his many lyrics the spoken word treatment, with bouts of screaming, aggressive sounds and complex structures defining the music. That aesthetic pushes to its edge here, with the complicated sounds and artistic (yet dangerous) dynamics suggesting a band playing to its maximum, finding new ways to pummel even during introspection. Weiss himself sounds like he’s in a similar place. His lyrical sensibility remains, but the religious imagery, animal characters and Sufi poetry reach manic pitches. In the troubled and troubling “Michael, Row Your Boat Ashore,” Weiss questions his parenting, looks into physical and mental health and eventually questions his own salvation, asking, “Am I still on that narrow way?” The track moves through conversations and images, leaving the listener with as much to puzzle over as to comprehend. The group provides no easy answers. Despite expectations raised by their first two albums, mewithoutYou has never been a proper Christian band and this album struggles to find a place spiritually. Something seems to have happened, some sort of insight raised or questions asked, but the response is a broad sense of disconcertedness. “[dormouse sights]” utilizes a string of disjointed Judeo-Christian images, but ends on a hymn-alluding chorus that would be heterodox at best: “There’s power in the blood/ Of every little lamb/ Wonder-working power.” Weiss’s inclusive religious thoughts expand here, ambiguously, even as he worries about his own spiritual state, an idea driven to the edge in the “Flee, Thou Matadors!,” which offers a catchy melody for a conversation about madness and the internal struggle between good and evil. All the songs weigh heavy, whether dealing with guilt, isolation or despair. Weiss is on parallel journeys of spiritual and self-discovery, and he doesn’t find anything simple. Both quests find propulsion through reflection. We might expect the album to end with some clear revelation or some bit of hope. It doesn’t really come. Even so, Weiss concludes with unfounded optimism (maybe the best kind) on “Break on Through (to the Other Side) [pt. Two].” Here, amid New Testament imagery, he hopes that, “Someday I’ll find me.” It’s unclear how this belief comes about, except that Weiss sings he has “Reason to believe.” Maybe something in the album-making process revealed esoteric knowledge; maybe it’s something speaking inside him. Whatever has gotten to Weiss is something that maybe never left him, though it’s been hidden in trials and doubt. [Untitled] feels like a way of working that matter out, although it’s a tangle of visions and language. With their latest album, mewithoutYou do less to illuminate the mess and more to find what’s within it, repeatedly challenging anyone who comes along.