Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today ...
Or to give it its full title, 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.
Formed in 1994 these mercurial Danes released two well regarded albums in their homeland before their major label debut Frengers in 2003 saw them receive wider acclaim. The equally successful And The Glass Handed Kites followed in 2005 and a lengthy bout of touring honed their skills. They have been silent for while but recently returned to the live arena as support act to Nine Inch Nails which, considering the difference in each band's musical outlooks, certainly shows their desire to reach a wider audience.
Now we have this, their fifth album, surely to become known as 'the one with the long title'. So, where to start? If you have any respect for your ears then the answer will not be opener, 'New Terrain', as it is an almost unlistenable mess weighed down with countless loops, sounds effects and layer upon layer of superfluous nonsense. After such a horrific start the temptation to give the rest album a miss was very high but perseverance paid off as, from 'Introducing Palace Players' onwards, this is a beautiful album that echoes the psychedelic highpoints of the Boo Radleys' back catalogue combined with the epic soundscapes of Sigur Ros.
From the staccato rhythms of 'Vaccine' to the prog rock leanings of 'Cartoons & Macramé Wounds', this is an album of many highlights. 'Hawaii Dream' has a gentle and lilting melody that segues gracefully into companion piece 'Hawaii' that makes abundant use of percussion that explodes into a choral centrepiece, transporting you to the titular Pacific Islands. For added authenticity, I suggest this would best heard while sipping cocktails on Waikiki Beach.
Best of all is 'Repeaterbeater', a short, sharp, poppy tune that would be worthy of a place in any singles chart. 'Reprise' is a wholly appropriate album closer that builds and subsides to a peaceful climax that begs you to start the whole album over again, albeit without the aural torture of the opener.
After many years of recording and touring it is great to listen to a band so clearly at ease with their own abilities. Music as uplifting as this is to be treasured and enjoyed in equal measure.