Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Music: "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 " by Mew

The first time I listened to Mew was when they released 2005’s And the Glass Handed Kites. The band had already made a name for themselves in their home country of Denmark, but their huge and emotional songwriting had not yet caught on in the United States. I was in high school at the time this album was released, and luckily, unlike many of the bands I enjoyed at this time, Mew has become more for me than a guilty pleasure. The band’s latest effort, 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, is consistent, powerful, and delivers in every way possible.

Opening track, “New Terrain” is a perfect introduction to the album (henceforth referred to as No More Stories…). Mew are able to encapsulate all of the ambition and scope of “No More Stories” in what is probably one of the most impressive sonic experiences I’ve heard in a long time. “New Terrain” seamlessly transitions into the staggered beat of “Introducing Palace Players”. Again, Mew show off their love of enormous rock with rousing synth parts and jagged guitar hooks. It is a standout track on the album that longtime Mew fans will not expect, but will undoubtedly be impressed with. No More Stories… quiets down with “Silas the Magic Car”, a more traditional sounding Mew song that channels the softer moments in Radiohead’s catalogue and melds them with angelic vocals from frontman, Jonas Bjerre. The melody of the track is later repeated in the closing of No More Stories…, serving as an appropriately inspiring ending to an amazing collection of songs.

Other noteworthy moments are the tropical sounds of “Hawaii” that suddenly change gears into an epic choir, and “Tricks of the Trade” which is probably Mew’s most electronically based song to date.

I was lucky enough to catch Mew’s set at the 2009 Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, one of the few shows in the US that Mew played on their summer tour. Although their stage presence was relatively mellow, the sound they produced was as enormous and enveloping as I hoped it would be. The band tested some tracks from No More Stories… including “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy” which became a great sing-along despite the fact that most members of the audience had not heard the song yet. Fan favorites from And the Glass Handed Kites sounded perfect and were most likely heard by other festival-goers watching Grizzly Bear on the other side of the park.

It was obvious that the small audience who had collected at the Balance Stage for Mew’s set knew that they had been a part of something special. Hopefully No More Stories… will gather the larger fanbase Mew deserves. It is undoubtedly one of the largest records of the summer and will please Mew fans and those new to their music.

No More Stories… is available now digitally and will be in stores on August 25th. Also make sure to check out Mew on their current world tour with Nine Inch Nails.

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