It’s weird. Even though mewithoutYou are Philadelphia born and bred, they don’t necessarily consider themselves a Philly band. Sure, they’ve got a loyal cadre of fans here, but when I interviewed Aaron Weiss earlier in the year and asked what it meant to him to be a Philly band, he hesitated. “I wouldn’t necessarily label us as a Philly band,” he said, “we’re from here, but we’ve gotten a much better reception in other cities, I think.” Nevertheless, a brand-new video premiered today for Pale Horses tracks “Red Cow” and “Dorothy” has frontman Aaron Weiss coming home, to Philadelphia.
It’s an epic adventure for Weiss and his blushing bride, hopping trains and dancing through the night, sleeping on rooftops and catching SEPTA regional rail and busses. It’s an intimate and reverent portrait of Weiss’ life in situ — it seems he does a bit more smiling these days. Contrasted against the brutal, aggressive chords of Pale Horses‘ most intense track, “Red Cow,” the narrative seems more than a bit juxtaposed. Shots of Weiss falling face-forward in slow motion are interspersed, giving us a hint that everything seen may not be believed. At the end of “Red Cow,” he hits the ground, rainbow-coloured fluid seeping from his head.
As the soft tones of “Dorothy” begin, we’re lifted with Weiss — literally — into an empty hall (fun fact: filmed inside the dome at Girard College), to join the rest of the band. He’s singing about a dream, a longing to be in communion with his dead father. “I think he would have liked my wife,” mourns Weiss. It’s crushing. Hopeless, even in a moment where everything should be full of life and brilliance, it’s only just a dream, a shade of true happiness. It’s the apocalypse in miniature, something Weiss specializes in as a lyricist. Escapism, reality — they’re two sides of the same waking dream, and it doesn’t take a philosopher to acknowledge that. Weiss treads a thin line. It would seem that he truly is happier now, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s arrived.
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