Mew - Mew and the Glass Handed Kites
At every award ceremony, the top prize at the moment is going to Mew. Trouble is, all these award ceremonies are taking place in Denmark. Without meaning to be-little the Danish music scene, competition is not that fierce. Putting "DANISH ROCK MUSIC" into Google brings up 109 results. Only the Ravonettes have made any real impression on these shores. Therefore, you can only begin to imagine the struggle bands such as Mew face to gain any recognition, to start any sort of career in music. Which makes this incredible piece of work even more astonishing.
Mew and the Glass Handed Kites is a compelling, exhausting album. First of all, it is almost a solid, continuous piece of music - but it is not just that the tracks run into each, the album sounds as if it was planned that way, composed specifically to be listened to in one 54 minute chunk. Despite this, each track sounds distinctive, the segues into each new song heightening the feeling of excitement as you listen.
Judging from the album sleeve design though, Mew are not the sort of guys you would like living next door to you. The artwork is appalling; it is sitting in front of me now as I write and actually depresses me in its awfulness. If ever an album was crying out for a more simplistic but striking approach, then this is it. Instead, well, you can see for yourself and make your own opinion in the top left of the screen. I only mention this as quite frankly, the design if off-putting, a real shame when the contents are so brilliant.
The album starts with a crescendo, showing a much meatier sound than the previous album, Frengers. Track two, "Chinaberry Tree", is simply wonderful, showing more imagination than some bands show in a lifetime. Never ones to fear a tempo change, this song shifts and stutters, with some quite beautiful vocals. Jonas Bjerre's range may not be to everyone’s taste, but on this album his voice shines amid the music.
"Why Are you Looking Grave?" features a surprising but welcome guest vocalist, J Mascis from Dinosaur Jnr., whose gravelly vocals create a great contrast to Bjerre. And then after an interlude the album winds up like a starting engine, into "Apocalypso". To me, this song is like a more interesting little brother to "Stockholm Syndrome" by Muse. When I first heard it I found it baffling; as a song it does take some getting used to. It is almost an entire albums worth of material condensed into five minutes, simply wonderful.
"Special" is a more straightforward song, but again shifts and turns as the beats are missed and the tempo switches. "The Zoo-Keepers Boy" marks the end of side one, another wonderful example of melody and the power of music just to make you feel good about life.
The second side does run out of steam a bit, but still features some amazing songs. "White Lips Kissed" is beautiful, with a great, slow pace, full of atmosphere. Album closer "Louisa Louisa" is also very special - drums spark like fireworks in the night sky on a majestic piece of music, soothed by lilting keyboards as the album reaches a calm, dignified ending.
I highly recommend this album. Mew are a very talented band, who deserve to be successful outside of their home country. They have achieved what many thought to be impossible - not only have they bettered their previous effort, Frengers, they have also created an album that deserves to be long remembered.
At the time of writing, it might be worth noting that Amazon have this album for the ridiculously cheap price of £6.97. Please follow the link for more details.
Last updated: 19/04/2018 06:41:51