No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away / No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash Away

Written by: TL on 28/09/2009 15:23:57

One thing is set in stone. If this country of mine has one band to offer that everyone in the world really should know about, for their own sake, not ours, then that band is unquestionably Mew. Now don't get me wrong, I'm am not one of Mew's regular faithful disciples, in fact I have been more than hesitant when it comes to buying into the retarded amount of hype this band has been getting since their breakthrough with 2003's "Frengers". Sure, I've enjoyed my fair share of their songs, but there's always been something about them that have prevented me from joining the legions of youngsters who would faint from orgasmic pleasure from merely seeing those big blue eyes of lead singer Jonas Bjerre. Maybe it's the unshakable feeling that Mew have always been trying just a bit too hard to be special, I'd like to think so, but it's not exactly like they've gone subtle with their new album "No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away / No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash Away", rather the contrary, and yet, this is the album that sees me surrender and admit their brilliance.

Now, if you've been living a life without Mew this far, I suppose a presentation is in order, and normally, I guess they bear the most immediate similarities to bands like Lydia, Gracer or even Death Cab For Cutie, except absolutely outrageous levels of ambition and experimentation that Mew put into their material make those bands seem like simplistic town square troubadours. You might have listened to Lydia's fantastic "Illuminate" album and thought it to be "beautiful and dreamy", but in comparison, "No More Stories..." is going to make you feel like you fell asleep and woke up in a space suit, walking in a sparkling crystal jungle, on a foreign planet where up is down and the sun is purple. You simply can't call this album beautiful without also attaching words like "otherworldly" or "supernatural", such is the success with which Mew strike the keys of experimentation.

It might be harder for the fans to pick up on than previously though, because the way "No More Stories" start out, there's no catchy single like "156" or "Snow Brigade" to be found, instead the profoundly odd starting duo "New Terrain" and "Introducing Palace Players" prove that no cheap charm is going to be found here. In fact, the latter of the two would probably melt the brains of most fans of mainstream music, as drummer Silas Graae is given the first one and a half minute of the song, to inject a simple time-signature with a much stranger drum pattern than you could conceive being in it. That's when Bo Madsen contributes a guitar part that, I swear to God, sounds like he's disassembling his guitar while he's playing it, yet it still fits the ambiance perfectly, and as this fact dawns upon you, you just know that Mew and you have already taken off on a voyage to kuu-koo county. It is unlike anything I have personally heard before, and yet it still has so much rhythm and beauty that it sweeps me away with seamless ease - And that's pretty much standard fare for every track on the album!?

I could make this review into a novel by picking out progressions like this one, where Mew layer things on top of each other in a unique way, yet still remaining as easily enjoyable and accessible as normal music, only infinitely more rewarding. Bjerre's voice, which is always a chapter on its own, the way it sounds partly like a charming and naive child, partly like an ethereal being of infinite and terrifying wisdom, seems to have been layered with more electronics than normally, and while I tend to detest such a practice, here it removes the feeling that I think have been my issue with previous material: It's like the band has finally truly embraced their borderline pretentious nature, with Bjerre's vocals more blurred and "one with the sound", Mew seem to no longer care if I get their songs or not, and contradictory as it may seem, this only gives them so much more credibility. I can only compare it to listening to a record by The Mars Volta. If you think about it, they wouldn't be as awesome either, should the start making music that seemed like it was bothered with pleasing its audience, would they?

So anyway, let's sum up: With "No More Stories", Mew prove that they can indeed go totally outside of the box, making something that sounds similar to nothing in the present music scene. They prove that they can be weird as hell without sounding like they're doing it just for the sake of it, instead showing their listeners a beautiful and different kind of music, and they manage to do this without sounding like they're trying too hard, or like you'd have to be a weirdo to appreciate them. Simply put, they've made a massively ambitious bet on their own artistic vision, and managed to take it home, seemingly without breaking a sweat. If that's not impressive, then I don't know what is, and while this record might not be the one I spin the most times in the future (simply because it does take effort to fully appreciate it), then it sure is something else, and I assure you: If one Dante had waited till present day to make his ascension to the Empyrean, I think he'd have heard "No More Stories" playing on God's stereo.

Download: Introducing Palace Players, Repeater Beater, Cartoons And Macrame Wounds
For The Fans Of: Lydia, Gracer, Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists, The Arcade Fire

Release Date 17.08.2009
Sony BMG

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