Mew — +–
→ Mew is one Denmark's most popular alt–rock acts.
Location: Hellerup, Copenhagen, Denmark
Album release: April 27th, 2015
Record Label: Play It Again Sam
01 Satellites 6:09
02 Witness 3:02
03 The Night Believer 4:12
04 Making Friends 4:52
05 Clinging to a Bad Dream 6:43
06 My Complications 6:04
07 Water Slides 5:05
08 Interview the Girls 4:04
09 Rows 10:43
10 Cross the River On Your Own 7:29
℗ 2015 Mew, under exclusive license to Play It Again Sam
→ Jonas Bjerre — lead vocals (1994–present)
→ Bo Madsen — guitar (1994–present)
→ Johan Wohlert — bass (1994–2006, 2013–present)
→ Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen — drums (1994–present)
JASON HELLER; APRIL 19, 201511:03 PM ET
→ “In your chrysalis I go,” croons Jonas Bjerre, the elf–voiced frontman of Denmark’s Mew, in the soaring song “Interview The Girls.” It’s one of the standout tracks on the group’s sixth album, cryptically titled +–, and Bjerre’s poetic verse is symbolic of the disc as a whole: Six years after Mew’s last full–length, No More Stories…, the progressive–pop band has morphed again, this time into a more streamlined, potent, startlingly evolved version of itself. Riffs still rise and melodies still swell, but there’s haunting spaciousness at the heart of the album that’s as heart–stopping as a time–lapse film of a butterfly’s transformation.
→ Grandiosity is the name of Mew’s game, and +– doesn’t forget it for a second. The bulk of the album is a mix of cascading anthems and cosmic pop that recalls vintage prog — think Peter Gabriel’s time with Genesis — as well as the shoegazing sumptuousness of My Bloody Valentine. It shouldn’t be an easy fit, but in + –‘s “Satellite,” Bjerre makes it sound effortless. He sings angelically of distance and loss, sounding like Sigur Rós’ Jon Thor Birgisson channeling Yes’ Jon Anderson, and his keyboards ping and echo majestically against the cloudlike bursts of guitarist Bo Madsen.
→ But just when it seems like all that preciousness might evaporate into the ether, bassist Johan Wohlert and drummer Silas Utke Graae Jorgensen lock into a propulsive groove that grounds Mew’s atmospheric tendencies. The formula is one Mew has used for years, but the return of Wohlert after an extended absence (he took a leave prior to No More Stories… in order to start a family) has reinvigorated the band. In “Witness,” Mew dispenses with intros and interludes altogether, instead cranking up the galloping intensity from the get–go — without sacrificing any of the lush melodrama for which the band refreshingly refuses to apologize.
→ In the past, Mew has enlisted guest stars such as alt–rock hero J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. and eminent jazz saxophonist Steve Coleman. Here, Russell Lissack of the British post–punk band Bloc Party chips in his songwriting and guitar–playing skills; in “My Complications,” his angular attack lends an urgency to Mew’s tuneful, airy melancholy. In “The Night Believer,” Bjerre duets with New Zealand pop star Kimbra, their eerily similar voices stalking and then melting into one another. The result is a study in symphonic, otherworldly heartache, neatly concentrated into a four–minute pop gem.
→ It’s on +–‘s most sprawling songs, though, that the band’s wide–angle vision best shines. The album ends with its two longest tracks: the seven–and–a–half–minute “Cross The River On Your Own” and the nearly 11–minute “Rows.” The former is a drifting, ghostly throwback to the post–adolescent angst of Mew’s early work, which is a good thing; with all of Bjerre’s coded, dreamy mystique, a little emotional directness goes a long way. “Rows” is another matter entirely. With epic scope and an orchestral structure to match, the song billows and builds into a gorgeous meltdown of celestial proportions. “Draw for me a rainbow / to signify loving eyes,” Bjerre sings as if he’s drowning in a sea of absence and sadness. It took two decades as a band, but Bjerre and company, intentionally or not, finally composed their answer to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” The sound of thunder that Mew displays on +– may be a delicate one, but it’s not less profound because of it. → http://www.npr.org/
Artist Biography by Corey Apar
→ The members of space pop innovators Mew first met in the seventh grade in Hellerup, Denmark. Before they could even play instruments, the ambitious youths — singer Jonas Bjerre, guitarist Bo Madsen, bassist Johan Wohlert, and drummer Silas Graae —- were ready to make music together, although they initially failed as a band called Orange Dog. Madsen briefly spent time in the United States before the guys came back together in their late teens as Mew. Inspired by My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., the Pet Shop Boys, and Prince, the Danish quartet's first gig impressed a book–publishing agent in the audience so much that he promptly convinced his company to change their business plan and release Mew's debut album.
→ Limited to only 2,000 copies, A Triumph for Man was issued in 1997 to critical acclaim. Making things even more dramatic for their gigs, the Mew live experience came to incorporate background animations created by Bjerre. The band followed up three years later with Half the World Is Watching Me, released on their own newly created label, Evil Office. The album saw a limited release in Sweden before the band hooked up with Sony for an international deal. As a result of the deal, the album was ultimately pulled so that they could re–record their best work to date for a world–wide release. The resulting well–received Frengers appeared in 2003. That same year, the band picked up Album of the Year and Band of the Year honors at the Danish Music Critics Awards. Mew's expansive pop dramatics, intricate passages, and shimmering atmospheric sound were further elaborated on for album number four, And the Glass Handed Kites. The record was issued in Europe and the U.K. in September 2005; an American release followed in July 2006. Wohlert had exited the group that spring to be with his growing family, though Mew continued touring during the summer on U.S. dates with Bloc Party. The band's fifth full–length album, No More Stories Are Told Today..., arrived in 2009. The following year saw the release of the band's first compilation LP, Eggs Are Funny, and in 2015 Mew issued their sixth studio album, the Michael Beinhorn–produced + –. (Allmusic)
Agent: USA/Canada/South America: William Morris Agency // EU/ASIA: Free Trade Agency // Scandinavia: BeatBox Booking
→ A Triumph for Man (1997)
→ Half the World Is Watching Me (2000)
→ Frengers (2003)
→ And the Glass Handed Kites (2005)
→ No More Stories... (2009)
→ + – (2015)
© Mew (Denmark). Credit: Paul Heartfield