Danish alt-rockers return with dark, spacious opus grounded by danceable beats.
According to the unellipted 23-word title of Mew’s fourth studio album,
stories are no longer told because “they washed away.” This explanation
proves true, as blissful waves of synth atmospherics—compounded by
Jonas Bjerre’s ethereal vocals—render the album’s awkward lyrics
largely unintelligible. “New Terrain” unfolds in endless layers with
Bjerre’s soprano, creating a haunting loop of echoes over late-blooming
arena-rock guitar—it’s the perfect opener to yet another album of songs
that rarely end where they begin.
But where the band’s U.S.
breakthrough, And the Glass Handed Kites, sometimes felt sprawling, its
follow-up achieves some much-needed clarity, distinguishing one song
from the next and reining in the reverb with throbbing bass hits. These
Danes articulate emotion better with dark, cinematic soundscapes than
with words, as they drift from apocalyptic disco (“Introducing Palace
Players”), to slow-burning, keyboard-and-handclap reverie (“Sometimes
Life Isn’t Easy”). Despite the occasional misplaced synth bloop, Mew’s
latest employs a clean-cut dance sensibility that lets the band
experiment without floating too far into space.
Listen to Mew on imeem.