Mew - + -

Believe it or not but 2015 marks Mew's 21st year as a band and ten years since the transcendent And The Glass Handed Kites landed on our shores. On their sixth album + -, the Danish art rockers return with original bass player Johan Wohlert and Grammy-nominated producer Michael Beinhorns in tow. It's immediately clear from the glamorous pomp of opener 'Satellites' that the band have fully embraced the pop-friendly ambition always suggested by earlier work. It's a huge, glimmering anthem that elevates Jonas Bjerre's infectious, high-pitched vocals into the metaphoric stratospheres.

What follows will likely divide Mew fans down the centre; on one hand we have their most professional album yet, but the sugary production and often irritable hooks hinder what is otherwise a musically rich experience. A diamond among the rough comes in the form of 'Water Slides' – a tune emotive enough to spark a smile in the most maudlin. Bjerre's repeated choral utterance of “For such a long time I didn't know if I'd find you / Say stop, made up, lying on the bathroom floor” followed by the subtle refrain of 'ahs' may not read so well on paper but in practice it'll knock you out. What you take away from + - will largely depend on what you enjoyed about Mew in the past. If you enjoy your art rock with rainbow sprinkles then hey, dig in - but don't expect it to fill you up until tea time.

Overall

6

out of 10

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