The silly title/great album dynamic has frolicked amid rock music for many years now, with the likes of Vivadixiesubmarinetransmissionplot, Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and Attack Of The Grey Lantern all proving the old adage – what’s in a name. Danish arty types Mew are heavyweight (and I do mean heavy) proponents of this peculiar habit that seemed to take a hold around the time of lush breakthrough LP Frengers. It continued with the darker And The Glass Handed Kites in 2005 and carries on here with this fifth record, the full title of which is quite a mouthful. I’m pushed for time so all I’ll tell you is that it could be abbreviated to the tidy acronym NMSATTISTWANMSTWIGITLWA.
Describing what Mew do is no picnic. In its simplest terms, the effect is what you imagine Sigur Ros might sound like if they used plectrums instead of violin bows and made decipherable lyrical references. But Mew have a scope for dreamlike adventure that could end up unlistenable in the hands of many of their nouveau prog kinsmen. Yes, they have prog tendencies – the slinky tempo shifts in -Introducing Palace Players’ or that trippy busted CD effect on -Cartoon and Macarme Wounds’ are examples – but the difference is that in Mew beats a stout but sensitive heart. Jonas Bjerre’s keening voice is light as a bird, but bulletproof. The songs unfold, slowly presenting themselves, and becoming miniature epics in their own right, impossible to listen to passively. Old friend Richard Costey’s (Muse, Bloc Party, The Mars Volta) production is another vivid highlight.
At first, I could not fully grasp what effect these songs were having on me, but I’d find myself having to be torn away from them. This is a strange sensation – as if No More Stories’¦ was laced with subliminal messages of the kind rumoured in supermarket music. I am sure I will have time to get to the bottom of it. After all, like each of the albums mentioned so far, this is a very special work, one that will age with grace and mystique and cause discussion in whatever climes and times it pops up in.