Josh Hurst reviews mewithoutYou’s It’s all crazy! It’s all false! It’s all a dream! It’s alright!, and touches on the album’s intriguing and head-scratching blend of Christian and Islamic spirituality:
Yes, this is an album that’s written from the perspective of something nearing religious piety, and its themes are profoundly spiritual and theological. That’s not the same as saying that this is a work of Christian orthodoxy, however; Weiss, it seems, grew up in a home equally influenced by the three major monotheistic religions, and his lyrics exude a mysticism that combines Christianity with Islam; not only does he quote Sufi texts, but he even refers to God with the Aramaic Allah. It raises some difficult issues for Christian believers, and while it’s without question a work of real spiritual honesty and sophistication, I’ll leave it to the listener to make up his or her own mind about the ways in which that spirituality is expressed. (I will say that I find it interesting that most major evangelical publications that have covered this album seem to have little issue with the religious syncretism on display.)
But then, that kind of gray-area duality is oddly fitting for an album that’s not merely existential, but outright mystical; that mixes hard gravity with cheerful whimsy. That mix makes it not just a legitimate heir to [Danielson’s] Ships — and to the entire bizarro-outsider Christian rock community Daniel Smith has godfathered — but also an album that qualifies, I think, as devotional, in the best sense of the term: An album in which spiritual pilgrimage is made not with anguish but with contentment, not through confession but through the beauty of song and story.
I’ve been working on my review of It’s all crazy! It’s all false! It’s all a dream! It’s alright!, but between this and Joel Hartse’s review, I don’t know if I have anything to add.