The Danish band Mew is hard to describe if you haven’t heard them before. I think I usually tell people that they are indie arena rock, that kind of gets at the gist of their sound. But so much of what they do is predicated on carefully crafted and complicated arrangements that undergird the soaring boy-choir vocals of lead singer Jonas Bjerre. And their guitar work is wild. Perhaps a more apt summation would be “what if Sigur Ros went crazy”.
I don’t even really remember how I came to find Mew, but I fell in love with their album Frengers. It’s a fantastic set of songs that includes some driving rock numbers and some ballads too and it’s probably their defining record to this point. They followed that album up with two very good LPs that took their sound into increasingly experimental territory, but made them a bit less accessible to the general listening population. Somewhere in there, they lost a founding member of the band and became a 3 piece outfit.
Also somewhere in there I was fortunate enough to see them live at The Fine Line Music Cafe twice. They came through town opening for Kasabian and must have liked it because they played the same venue again on their way back east as a headliner. Both times they were very tight and had incorporated some fascinating projected visuals with their music. It turns out Jonas Bjerre is an accomplished visual artist as well as a singer.
Last year they started work on their new album, +- , after reuniting with their previous band member. If early tracks from the new album are good indicators, Mew has continued experimenting with their sound while also taking cues from their previous work (particularly …And the Glass Handed Kites). I like the vibes a lot.
Their first single from +- is Satellites, a driving song showing off the vibe of the album.
The band then released another new tune called Water Slides, a bit of a left turn from the first single – showing the diversity of their sound is still intact.
Finally, this week they released the final pre-release single entitled Witness. This song, more than the others, relies some some familiar landscapes that harken back to Glass Handed Kites era Mew.
So the groundwork has been laid and I’m very excited to spend some time chewing on a new Mew album. If you haven’t listened to them before, consider staring with Frengers and going from there. It’s a fun trip.
+- will release on April 24th on Universal Music.