CD Review of No More Stories… by Mew
Mew: No More Stories…
Recommended if you like
Radiohead, M83, Sigur Rós
Label
Columbia/Evil Office
Mew: No More Stories…

Reviewed by Carlos Ramirez

T
he odd yet alluring packaging art for No More Stories…, Mew’s latest album, says a lot. The cover image’s bold use and mix of psychedelic and modern cut-and-paste layout styles encapsulates the Danish band’s wild songwriting spirit. The outfit’s penchant for marrying dreamlike vocal melodies with crushing yet pretty-sounding guitars has always yielded winning results, but this time out, Mew sound more assured and comfortable in their delivery.

Produced by Rich Costey (Interpol, Muse), No More Stories… (look up the full album title on Wikipedia for a laugh) is, sonically speaking, as massive as Mew’s arrangements deserve. The nature of the band’s frenetic writing style makes capturing them in the studio no walk in the park, but Costey rises to the challenge. Instead of nuances getting buried beneath the sheets of guitars and thundering percussive elements, they get a chance to flourish. Without those little details, the record would have been robbed of a lot of its charm.

Where on their prior outings Mew’s ambition sometimes got in the way of the actual songwriting, on No More Stories… there’s a new commitment and emphasis on the tunes. That doesn’t mean that they’ve toned down their prog tendencies, because that side of their sound is in full bloom here, but the hooks just reveal themselves more often.

As talented as the band is, Mew’s ace in the hole is vocalist Jonas Bjerre. His vocals blend the ethereal mystique of Jónsi Birgisso (Sigur Rós) with the powerhouse side of Thom Yorke’s voice. Bjerre’s shapeshifting performances know no bounds on the album, and it’s tough to imagine someone else being able to pull this stuff off. There isn’t a standout single on No More Stories… but it should find an audience with fans of acts like the Flaming Lips and Godspeed You Black Emperor! Who said progressive rock had to be soulless?

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