mewDenmark’s Mew is not a band that will not appeal to everyone. They have built themselves around complex song structures, dense instrumentation, and a meticulous attention to detail that can leave most casual listeners frustrated, confused, or simply indifferent to what they are hearing. It’s anyone’s guess how they have been able to release their last three albums major labels such as Sony and Columbia. What these individuals often miss, however, is that is precisely these characteristics that separate Mew from many of their contemporaries. Beneath the complexity of their work lie songs that are melodic, memorable, and filled with lush arrangements that are at the same time awe-inspiring and breathtaking.

They ably proved what they were capable of with 2005’s …And the Glass Handed Kites, their fourth album and first introduction to many American listeners. Songs such as “The Zookeeper’s Boy” were perfect case studies in how the band operates, with their musical flourishes and lead singer Jonas Bjerre’s  dreamlike voice coming together to form something of beauty. Now, the band has returned with the overwhelmingly titled 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, an album that expands their sound and shows why they are a musical force to be reckoned with.

One of the most striking things about Mew is the transportation power of their music. From the opening lines of “New Terrain” onward, one is given the feeling of being in an entirely different place. Their combination of electronics, guitar, and a strong rhythm are used to give off the illusion throughout No More Stories… that you are in an hour long dream. This can easily be attributed to the fact that the band has a knack for grandeur. These are big sounding songs, every single note and beat pronounced for maximum effect, while at the same time evoking a melodic and coherent sound. Bjerre’s layered vocals, a staple of the band, almost sound like an extension of the music itself. His grand voice functions as the perfect complement to the controlled chaos in the background. It all makes for a beautiful sounding album that should be listened to from start to finish.

This is especially evident in the album’s many highlights. After the fragmented, in an endearing way of course, first two tracks, “Beaches” shows Mew at their most accessible. It contains a catchy chorus, an almost funky rhythm section in the verses, and sunny lyrics, all before it abruptly ends. It is a great contender for a single, and a perfect introduction to the band for the uninitiated. By contrast, the seven minute long “Cartoons and Macramé Wounds” spends its first two minutes with vocals and instruments almost fused together, before slowing down and letting piano, electronics, and Bjerre’s voice take center stage. It ends with a flourish of guitars, rhythm, and layered vocals to make it a tour de force. Other standout tracks include the tropically infused “Hawaii” and the equally compelling “Vaccine”.

With No More Stories…, Mew have made another album full of dreamy moments and an abundance of memorable songs. While it may not appeal to everyone, especially those who are more singles oriented, those who are willing to give it multiple listens will discover a work of sheer beauty by a band that prides themselves on attention to detail. Scandinavia has been a hotbed of great music over the last decade, and Mew continues the tradition in the name of Denmark by adding No More Stories… to their already impressive repertoire.

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