Once you have condensed the somewhat off putting title to simply 'No More Stories' then you can start listening to what Mew have to say this time around, and it really is very good indeed. Each of Mew's albums has its own character and this one is no different. Debut 'A Triumph for Man' is a striding and confident album filled with accessible yet innovative tracks. Follow up 'Half the World is Watching Me' is a more of a straight out rock album which laid the building blocks for third album 'Frengers' which is joyously anthemic and almost poppy at moments. Fourth album '...and the Glass Handed Kites' is a master stroke with an almost consistent flow pitching you from epic highs like 'Zookeeper's Boy', 'Saviours of Jazz Ballet' and 'An Envoy to the Open Fields' to the crunching devastation of 'Apocolypso'.
So what does this fifth album do different. It is a strangely broken album. Opening track 'New Terrain' almost sounds like it is being played backwards with synths that cut short like the passing of a police car siren. It gives the track the feeling that it is constantly trying to catch up with itself and yet at the end it opens into a gently humming organ part that rolls straight into the broken guitars of 'Introducing Palace Players'. This track bounces like the drunken dance at the end of a long night. It is exhilarating though slightly uncoordinated. 'Beach' chimes and jumps into the sunshine and takes you along for the ride like all good pop songs should.
Then we get a little more serious. 'Repeaterbeater' is a plodding widescreen rock song. By this point in the album the quality is really starting to shine through, and this is proven fantastically by 'Silas the Magical Car'. This track tinkles into your ears and warms you from the inside with layered child like vocals and simple piano parts. 'Cartoons and Macrame Wounds' continues to draw on simple piano parts and shows hints of the happier moments from 'Kites' or 'Frengers' without feeling as though they are just copying themselves. The subtly growing intensity throughout the track is perfectly balanced by the quiet moments and sugar sweet lines like "Put your hand in mine and we will go skating", and the hummed refrain towards that closes the track sets up 'Hawaii Dream' perfectly to just creep out of the silence left. 'Hawaii' itself then bounces in with all the chimes and layered vocals before crystallising into a dense middle section and rhythmic vocals which follow the lead of the drums. It is a very clever song.
The album then becomes a series of compositions starting with 'Vaccine' which is very easy to ignore but is worth a listen as it has some nice ideas in it. 'Tricks of the Trade' then is a subtle rhythmic track with consistent drums and vocals which eventually give way intricate piano and synth that fade effortlessly into the back ground. 'Sometimes Life Isn't Easy' is a beautiful track, with simple melodic stabs, layered vocals and a cacophony of drums. It all develops into a sun drenched beauty of a track that nicely leaves the way open for 'Reprise' to close off the album in elegant fashion.
Over all it is a strange album with a lot of variation and ideas, but it uses them with maturity and focus creating a truly fascinating listen. By the time it closes you can understand why there are no more stories to be told. It is because Mew have told them all right here and some more need to be written.
I'm new to Mew, having only come across them whilst looking for artistes similar to Thirteen Senses. Whilst I can see some similarities, what with the falseto voice and piano-based music (on a couple of occasions on the wonderful Cartoons And Macrame Wounds singer Jonas actually sounds more like Will South than the Thirteen Senses frontman himself!), Mew definately have that certain something about them that makes them impossible to pigeon-hole with other bands. Please give the backwardesque-sounding opening track New Terrain a chance as it definitely grows on you after a few listens. This is followed by the seratonin overdose that is the ultra-catchy Introducing Palace Players, which features an amazing last-minute cocktail of heavy synth, guitar and voice combo which leaves you punching the air in a gimme more kinda way before moving onto the pop-tastic Beach. Repeaterbeater is gloriously pumping up-tempo stuff, Silas The Magic Car is another beautiful track, whilst Cartoons And Macrame Wounds is a gorgeous cacophony of beautiful tunes and vocals amidst a dreamy backdrop which this band seem to have made their own.
Hawaii is another track atypical of these Danes' unique brand of audio-lushness. Vaccine ups the tempo perfectly on a CD where the track order is nothing if not perfect - so much so that to truly appreciate this body of work, it really has to be played in whole without skipping any tracks (not that any are worthy of skipping). Tricks Of The Trade is another favourite, as is Sometimes Life Isn't Easy. The album closes with the delicous melody that is Reprise, a piece of music that just leaves you wanting more.
Whatever else you purchase, make sure this masterpiece is in your shopping basket. Listen to it a few times, become addicted, recomment to your friends if they have good taste in music and be forever appreciated as the one who brought this CD-shaped ray of sunshine into their lives!
Hell yes it was worth the wait! I was worried when i watched the making of the new album online. Looking even less like rock stars and sounding less rock had me worried for a moment. When I got the album my worst fears came true - Mew looking like their mums had dressed them in the inlay pictures and first song 'New Terrain' sounding like backwards 70's space prog. Oh dear. But then something happened. After a few spins things began making sense. Gone is the bombastic rock production of Beinhorn on their last album which, to be honest, having listened to this album many times now, never really suited their ethos anyway.
Sophisticated dreamy pop is how I would now describe what Mew are doing, although as all the Mew fans know - summing up their sound with a throwaway categorisation should best be left to the emos. 'Introducing Palace Players' is a gorgeous first single and songs like 'Silas The magic Car' and 'Sometimes Life Isn't Easy' are majestic and uplifting. It defies belief that a band can make something so amazing out of a few chords a bit of production but Mew have done it again. Not one of the songs can be described as having a fast tempo which you would think would make for a boring sounding record...but no. Instead this record is comfortable in itself and its pace kept to a minimum to try and show off its assets which it effortlessly does. Still unique, still gifted and better than ever this is their best album IMO.
I would first off like to rid Mew of any comparison's to "prog-rock" bands such as Muse and Sigur Ros, etc. as they are invalid and lazy. Sure, one can take elements such as falsetto vocals and pretentious album titles and tie-in band X with Y, but what's the point? The overall content couldn't be more dissimilar, and everyone knows that comparison's, although sometimes helpful, are largely false and only set-up the uninitiated for disappointment.
`No More Stories...' is quite a departure from the largely brilliant,`And the Glass Handed Kites'. Guitars take a back seat to synths and darker lyrical themes of paranoia are replaced with fantasies of Hawaii. Not to say that this is a light-hearted romp as there are shards of darkness littered throughout, and of all the songs I would only classify `Beach' as pure pop. Jonas' ethereal vocals combine very well with the lighter instrumentals and the melodies are some of the best Mew have concocted thus far.
Stand-out tracks for me are: `Introducing Palace Players' (I shan't hear a better dance rock track), `Silas the Magic Car', `Tricks of the Trade' and `Repeater Beater'. The track that truly encapsulates the brilliance of this album though would be "Sometimes Life Isn't Easy". It is bombastic, beautiful and feels far too short despite its 5 and a half minutes or so length. The moment the bass kicks in after the lyrics, "I was blaming myself" is blissful, and I doubt that I will appreciate the use of a choir composed of children more than here (it couldn't be less elsewhere).
Wow. There's few other words capable of describing the aural feast that is Mew's third album - there's more here to digest than that considerable mouthful of a title.
Don't be deceived by confused opener New Terrain - No More Stories... is a magnificent, experimental, post-pop album. Mew have made an album more joyous than their previous output would suggest, avoiding their previous two albums' heavy set and musical angst.
Sometimes Life Isn't Easy is one of the highlights: almost impossible to describe, and certainly impossible to categorise, it sounds almost like Sigur Ros playing Coldplay. Other highlights include Cartoons And Macramé Wounds and the pure pop rush of Hawaii and Repeaterbeater. Tricks Of The Trade builds a haunting atmosphere, while Reprise is a beautifully gentle closer.
In all, No More Stories... is the album where Mew finally nail all the details - every sound is fleshed out, but not overproduced, the songwriting is at its peak, the psychedelia actually sounds fresh, and they're finally making the music no one else can make.
Mew should write more songs like (as of standard to) 'Introducing Palace Players'. ..With its sporadic interlocking beats, its a masterpiece bursting with huge energy and originality. 'Beach', that follows, is brilliant 'Happy indie' as well. There are quite a few other top tunes, but I write this while its still growing (in a literal triffid way) on me.
I seem to have been listening to a lot of new Scandinavian music recently. This has occurred more by virtue of default than design. There have been some rich treats and one turkey which certainly wasn't.
Sweden's Colonia, Fever Ray and (in particular) Hello Saferide all blew me away.
So too did Norway's Lene Marlin's lovely new album 'Twist The Truth'. ( A delightful singer/songwriter who deserves more attention than she receives ).
Also from Norway, however, A-ha's recent aberrant reincarnation scored a big grubby zero ( Nul Points !! ) with the release of their execrable 'Foot Of The Mountain'.
More good than bad none-the-less all the way !
Then along comes Denmark's Mew with their stunning new project 'No More Stories' (or : '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' - if you want the whole shebang !)
It really is an extraordinary piece of work. Building on earlier well-laid foundations, this collection demonstrates further evolution and greater musical maturity in the band's highly distinctive sound.
Messrs Bjerre, Madsen and Jorgensen are collectively creating some of the most excitingly complex and viscerally stimulating music imaginable. There is innovation to be sure but it had a freshness and spontaneity about it which is often really thrilling.
After the sweeping chordal waves and slippery treated vocals of opening track 'New Terrain' have fallen away we are plunged into a thoroughly barmy and exhilarating rhythmic invention ('Introducing Palace Player's') as good as anything you are likely to hear anywhere in the world this year !
The quality just doesn't let up ! 'Beach' is stuffed so full of sunshine that it can hardly contain itself. Blissful pop of the very highest order !
'Repeaterbeater' has a harder edge and stomps along splendidly. The band's highly refined musical sensibility, however, is never very far away. The chorus is a stunningly uplifting creation.
'Silas The Magic Car' is just what it says on the tin : MAGICAL !
The fractured latin rhythms of 'Hawaii' and chanted vocal virtually creates a new genre : Pixie Tribal. The densely layered central section is simply beautiful.
'Tricks Of The Trade' is another terrific composition. The united voice and synthesiser arabesques are enchanting.
'Sometimes Life Isn't Easy' is a widescreen epic. Its five minute duration barely contains the wealth of ideas bursting within its borders. The children's choir is an inspired inclusion. Although hard to pick a highpoint on such a wonderful album this would have to be it. A masterpiece - no more no less.
There are yet more riches to be found if I have persuaded you to give it a listen.
I was a little nervous for Mew with this album - I found their last album a little patchy and I thought maybe their gift for crafting slightly off-kilter pop was fading.
Luckily, I was wrong. This is an excellent album, full of catchy, slightly twisted pop tunes, gorgeous, inventive arrangements, backed up by plenty of clever, sophisticated composition. The production is gorgeous; rich and detailed and the album really shines through a good set of headphones.
'No More Stories' is a great album from an immensely talented band who straddle any number of genres simultaneously to produce a rich, dense, uplifting soundscape.
Every album is different, but always distinctly and definitely Mew.