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Alternative Rock Band - Mew - Biography


Some bands take the easier route, and then there is Mew.
Matching their fascinating, enigmatic album titles and lyrics, the Danes’ music follows its own unique path, transporting a pure-pop sensibility through ever-evolving scenery and around exhilarating hairpin bends, making music as layered and expansive as it is charismatic and melodic.

Following Mew’s fifth album 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, they are releasing a career-defining record, this time with the much shorter title of +-. The symbols capture the extremities of the band’s DNA: the pop ingenuity – Mew could be the new A-Ha if so desired – and the ambitious expansion of progressive giants such as Genesis and Yes.

“It’s like a photograph that’s been soaking in chemicals for a long time, to exaggerate the contrast,” reckons singer/spokesman Jonas Bjerre, on behalf of guitarist Bo Madsen, drummer Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen and returning bassist Johan Wohlert. “It represents the far regions of what Mew can be.”

At the spectrum’s end that Pitchfork has labelled Mew’s “dream thunderstorm pop”, there is ‘The Night Believer’ and ‘Satellites’. ‘My Complications’, ‘Interview The Girls’ and a particularly frenetic ‘Witness’ also tap Mew’s more accessible side, but even then, the music is deliciously skewed. “Some people view songwriting as a craft involving an acoustic guitar, candelight, red wine and thinking about a girl you like,” says Bjerre. “That’s been done to death and doesn’t interest us. Yet sometimes, in spite of everything we try out, it can be just like that! But we prefer it happens by accident.”

And where Mew add, “knee-buckling curveballs” (Pitchfork again), there’s ‘Rows’, 11 epic minutes spanning pastoral and symphonic passages, while the seven-minute ‘Cross The River On Your Own’ is an extended serene finale. “Even if ‘weird’ means ‘almost unlistenable’, it’s always better than ‘predictable, cynical and generic’,” Bjerre feels. “Our songs can be more like puzzles.”

On top, the subtle electronic pulses on ‘Water Slides’ and ‘Making Friends’ hint at contemporary R&B influences. “None of us wants to just repeat ourselves,” the singer declares. “We’re also trying to make the music that we’d like to listen to, that’s missing from our lives, and we can’t allow ourselves to compromise,” he adds. “For us, music is about a mixture of expression and invention. We like an immediate impact, but also layers you can stay within. It works best when we achieve both.”

+ – also symbolises Mew’s fortunes in the intervening years since No More Stories… On the plus side is Wohlert, who left in 2006 to start a family, only to return to reunite the quartet that started Mew back in 1995 when they were all still at school. The four were last together to record 2005’s …And The Glass-Handed Kites album with producer Michael Beinhorn, which Bjerre describes as “darker and grittier,” than, “the more ethereal, open, direct,” No More Stories… Wanting more darkness and grit again, they called on Beinhorn, who felt the live rehearsals lacked the necessary chemistry, and suggested Mew call Wohlert.

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Country DK
Select - State/County/Region Fredericksberg
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Country Denmark
State/Province København
distance: 3,911 Miles
Address Copenhagen, Denmark

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