Danish alt rockers and last week’s featured band Mew have brought out their latest album Visuals, their first release since the departure of long time guitarist Bo Madsen.
Nothingness and No Regrets opens with plucked strings and twinkly keyboard sounds, creating the perfect atmosphere for Jonas Bjerre’s dreamy vocals. After setting the tone, the song unexpectedly explodes, and shows the band can be as euphoric as Coldplay or Sigur Ros.
The punchy rock kit gives a bit of drive to the ethereal The Wake Of Your Life, before the low chugging growl of Candy Pieces All Smeared Out cuts through with as much edge as 90s noise-rock outfit My Bloody Valentine. At first, In A Better Place seems like it will be just more dreampop, but completely changes the feel with soft brass over a jungle style beat.
The brass appears again, sounding more jubilant, on Learn Our Crystals, marking Mew at their most bright and optimistic, while Twist Quest adds a dash of jangling jazz guitar to the verses among a post-rock chorus.
Just when it feels the band could add a bit more variation from the generally reverb-soaked setting, they pull out Shoulders and 85 Videos, which make use of rhythmical backing vocals and electric beats. Zanzibar is short but sweet, with waves of drone guitars over an oscillating keyboard arrangement, and the album is wrapped up with the sleepy Carry Me To Safety.
Mew are known for a celestial sound that encompasses almost everything they touch, but Visuals is far more direct, and in the right setting, near perfection.
Edited by Ginny Wong