on 14 November 2003
The title of my review says it all - let the soundscapes and atmosphere of this fantastic album sweep over you and I promise the results will leave you feeling as you have stepped from a freezing cold wasteland into a candle-lit log cabin in the middle of a forest, where a sumptuous feast awaits with the finest wine .....
A little over the top ? Perhaps, but I have been listening to Mew for several months now after seeing them live with Martin Gretch in Manchester. I had no idea who Mew were, but live they were absolutely riveting. I went away thinking I had heard something special. When I finally got 'Frengers' I was still uncertain, had I drunk too much at the concert ?, was I swept up in the occasion ?
All my doubts were blown away from the first power chords of 'Am I Wry? No' through to the final single chord ending of 'Comforting Sounds'. Not a weak track, each one with a quirk of it's own, whether it's the mysterious chants of '156' during the same-titled song, the haunting 'Symmetry', or the incredibly catchy and moving 'She Came Home for Christmas' - each track soars into your head and heart.
I would also say Mew are best listened to now, at this time of year (Autumn-going into winter) - there is an edge of melancholy and mood that suits the falling leaves, the dark nights, the gathering storm, yet it still uplifts and enlights.
A recommendation to buy ? You bet ....!
on 17 April 2003
In the constant search to try and find some decent music amongst today's dross, it's very refreshing when you can truly say I've found something worth your attention. I first heard about 'Mew' when the NME had their 9 minute epic 'Comforting Sounds' as single of the week plus their reference to the superb 'Mercury Rev' kind of swayed it for me.
Having failed to find the CD single in my local manufactured plastic pop serving music store I decided to buy the album, 'Frengers' (not quite friends but not quite strangers).
With sounds that eclipse their years, this album is something to shout about, 'Mew' are five Danes who have produced a 10 track debut album of epic proportions and worthy of all accolades given to them by the music monthly's. 'Frengers' kicks off with three uplifting tracks, mixing pop rock with superb indie guitar hooks thrown in for good measure. Track four 'Symmetry' is a slow piano based ballad that has one of the most haunting and saddest of choruses that any sad song has ever had to offer. 'Her voice is beyond her years' features the vocal talent that is Stina Nordamstan, a track that for me resembles the sounds of 'The Wannadies', the most indie sounding track on the album. At that point you start to realise 'Mew' have allot to offer, without sounding pretentious they are deep in depth and who aren't afraid to experiment with sounds and vocals. The whole album builds up nicely to its finale, 'Comforting Sounds', 8 minutes 53 seconds of pure genius, the track kind of reminded me of sounds from Grandaddy's 'Software Slump'. Lets face it 'Mew' just like the similar sounding and equally brilliant 'Electric Soft Parade' are never going to take over the world and dominate any music awards because todays music unfortunately caters for the masses. An industry that relies on 7-15 year olds to shift 'units', would distance themselves from all bands like 'Mew' who dare to be a little different.
'Frengers' is layerd and textured with wonderful sounds and allot more complex than their indie-ish opener 'Am I Wry?No' would have you believe. If you want comparisons then you would have to compare them with mixtures (not direct influences) of 'The Delgados' , 'Mercury Rev', 'Sigur Ros', 'Electric Soft Parade' & 'JJ72' for lead singer Bjerre's young sounding girlish voice. It's unfair to 'Mew' to say they have directly gone out to sound anything like all of the above as they are just as unique and talented as them all.
'Ferengers' is a highly recommended debut album that will sound just as fresh in a few years as first listen, don't delay.. go out, grab a copy and enjoy.
on 19 June 2003
This album is quite simply brilliant. It shines alongside the brightest stars in the musical sky. These songs contain turns of boldness, driving riffs, massive harmonies, blissfully crossed rhythms between drums and guitars, haunting vocals, and the feeling that you've stumbled across something that you'll have for life - with a smile on your face. If you want to turn the effect of this album into an even bigger musical experience check these guys out live, you won't be disappointed. Do yourself a favour and part with a tenner for this gorgeous work of art.
I’ve got to confess that I know little about this band other than the fact that they’re Danish. I only picked the album up after a chance hearing of the track ‘Snow Brigade’ which piqued my interest enough to want to hear some more – a rare thing over the last of couple of months.
Coincidentally, ‘Snow Brigade’ bore comparison with one of my favourite bands of recent times, Snow Patrol, sharing not just a fascination for forming collectives interested in looking after snow, but also for delicate melodies shrouded in razor-edged guitar, as well as the odd dodgy song title. Check out opener ‘Am I Wry? No’ for a prime example of all of the above.
Vocalist Jonas Bjerre is reminiscent of long lost AOR legends The Outfield (a comparison of no use to anyone except my brother, so let’s hope he reads this) and his voice soars throughout this album, none more so than on the fantastic ‘156’ and its glorious, ever-altering bridge and repeated ‘Don’t you just love goodbyes’ refrain, which persists with the Snow Patrol references, being similar in mood and style to that band’s ‘One Night Is Not Enough’.
‘Frengers’ is a lush sounding album, full of layer upon layer of instrumentation and yet it doesn’t feel over-produced. On first listen this may seem to bury the melodies a little but as you play it again (and again) the album grows and you find yourself humming extracts days later. However, given the oft-times obtuse song titles, it might not always be instantly clear to work out which song you’ve just remembered. For reference though, if it isn’t one of the three songs already name-checked, chances are it will be from the splendid ‘Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed’ (see what I mean about the titles) or the juddering ‘She Spider’.
All told, a promising debut from the Danes.
on 9 January 2004
I admit that I came across this album completely by accident. Late-night TV shortly before x-mas yielded, amongst the usual repeated dross, the video for 'She came home for Christmas'. I was instantly smitten - and, as far as I'm concerned, stuff 'Mad World', x-mas 2003's number one should have been Mew.
'She came home...' was a bit misleading: very mellow, with painfully beautiful vocals and I had expected the album to be more of the same. In a sense it is, but there are unexpected teeth and claws hidden beneath the furry softness. I fell in love with Mew the second after 'Am I wry? No' kicked in. I can't work out whether it's a bitter tirade against someone called Farah (or maybe he dislikes their trousers?) or an angry(ish) love song in favour of her. Either way, it's an awesome opener. '156' continues on - a soft opener that eventually caves in to some guitar work (and beautiful lyrics - "Don't you just love goodbyes?" ). 'Snow Patrol' is my favourite track on the album, although very closely challenged by '8 flew over, 1 was destroyed' and 'Shespider'. In fact the album as a whole is pretty much excellent. 'Symetry' drags on a bit for me (although the female vocalist's voice is simply beautiful).
Frengers means 'Not quite friends, but not quite strangers'. On the basis of this effort, I think that Mew will be making quite a lot of new friends from now on - BUY IT NOW!!
Mew is a mishmash band -- a little indie-rock, a little prog, a little pop, a little hard-rock and a little art rock.
And in their third album "Frengers," the Danish band mixes all of those together, and lets listeners hear the grand extent of what they can do. This album is rich with atmospheric music and fiery instrumentation -- an absolutely dazzling, powerful slab of rock'n'roll.
It opens with the shimmering riffs and kinetic basslines of "Am I Wry? No," a hard-edged song with choirlike backing vocals. It grows into a soaring rock epic, before falling back to Jonas Bjerre's high, sharp voice. "Farrah now that we're here/can you tell me exactly how I should/have done?/Farrah drives with her eyes closed/do you ever inflict unwanted memories?"
It gets soft and wintry at the start of the next song, only to blossom out into a fast-paced rocker laced with bells and synth. The songs that follow are the whole sonic palette: muscular rockers, airy piano ballads backed with synth, driving guitar rockers, surreal psychfolk, and lightning-quick rock'n'roll that veers between guitar pop and the hard stuff.
Maybe that's what makes Mew so appealing -- you can't put a label on their sound (psych-pop-prog-hard-art-rock?) and you can't sit still whenever it's playing. Whenever their music settles into a signature "sound," they turn around and change it yet again.
Every song is layered with instrumentation -- some incredibly strong riffs, loud basslines, a fluid piano melody of two, a little synth, and some sharp percussion are all smoothed into one in songs like "Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed." Best of all, their music has an epic, powerful quality -- "Am I Wry? No" has the quality of a feisty thunderstorm.
Jonas Bjerre's voice is a bit elusive. At the start it sounds rather high and nasal, but eventually his vocals start melting into the music itself -- the peak is when he duets with Stina Nordenstam. And the songs he sings are quite solidly written ("Because no one is safe/From someone somewhere's/Sweet embrace/And so I have simply decided/To dislike you now").
"Frengers" is a solid third album for this brilliant Danish band, and the first album that got them the notice they richly deserve. Wonderful piece of work.
on 6 November 2005
This is truly an exceptional album.
Basically, I saw an ad for their latest album "...and the glass handed kites", and decided to preview it online. It sounded ok... until I spotted this album available also. To be honest, this is the best cd I have heard in years: emotive, breathtaking and widescreen are just some words that spring to mind when describing this album. In fact, of the ten tracks the only one I personally don't like is the last one, "Comforting Sounds". The best tracks on this album are "156", "Am I Wry? No" and "Symmetry", but its all good - and very very addictive. Mew write instantly likeable tunes that are still quite complex, meaning you never tire of playing them.
Imagine combining the emotional intensity of Muse with the ethereal vocals of Sigur Ros and you're halfway there.
Please please just buy this album. It will take your breath away...
on 16 February 2004
The first I heard of Mew was seeing 'She Came Home For Christmas' on MTV2. I was blown away and utterly disappointed when it didn't make Christmas number 1. A few months later I got the album and it is rarely off my CD player. What hasn't this album got? Well, the only thing that comes to mind is that it lacks a crap song. It is solid gold from dirty great stabs that start 'Am I Wry? No' to the monumentally epic 'Comforting Sounds'. Add the catchy riffs and the delicious timings that run throughout the album and you'll see what I mean.
This is not music by numbers. You can feel the energy, skill and love that went into it. As I said...genius!!!
on 26 June 2005
I heard one mew song. I then took it upon myself to listen to all of them. If you like Ambient, dreamy pop, or simply have half decent taste, you should adore these quirky, sincere and original Danes as much as i do. Ranging from the slightly euro-pop synth sounds of 'Mica' that nevertheless transcends any kind of easy categorisation other than 'Genius', to the rockier modes of 'Her voice is beyond her years' and 'Snow Brigade' Mew consistently surprise me, and they are now my favourite band.
I just want you to experience them, i want everyone to, i really, REALLY think they deserve it, and i also know you won't be disappointed.
on 15 June 2003
I bought this on the strength of seeing Am I wry? No on MTV and I wasn't disappointed. From the first track through to the mind blowing last one it just gets better. Comforting Sounds has got to be one of the best tracks I have ever heard. It makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. 8 minutes 53 seconds is not enough - I could listen to this forever. Music has got a future with bands like Mew around.