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Album Review: ‘+-‘ by Mew

Danish noisemeisters Mew return following a somewhat extended hiatus with their sixth album ‘+ -‘ (pronounced plus minus) on 27th April 2015

Mew continue their penchant for enigmatic album titles. Their previous outing in 2009, 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 revelled in ambition. Recorded in Copenhagen, produced by Michael Beinhorn and Mew with mixing duties undertaken by Rich Costey , ‘+ -‘ also features an appearance from Bloc Party guitarist Russell Lissack on ‘My Complications’ – a song he co-wrote which came to fruition having met Mew on a US tour some years ago.

‘+ -‘  revels in pop sensibilities bordering on a post-rock landscape. Imagine the delicate vocal style of Jonsii from Sigur Ros mixed with a typical Scandinavian pop texture or the infectious sound of The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and M83. With previous Mew releases you were never sure of what exactly you were getting and perhaps it wasn’t always an easy listen. ‘+ -‘dispels that, serving up a pop-rock album that is enjoyable and very accessible.

There is an air of grandiose about ‘+ -‘. Only one of the 10 tracks come in at under 4 minutes, with the whole thing coming in at just shy of 60 minutes its epic length is mirrored in the dynamics and landscapes created within each track. If you find the 60 minute daunting it is possible to dip in and out of ‘+ -‘ .  Each track sits perfectly as a standalone pop song; listened as a complete album though and you’ll get a real treat.

Standout tracks come in the form of opener ‘Satellites’ with its gentle vocal and sumptuous groove; ‘Clinging To Bad Dream’ and the previously mentioned ‘My Complications’ which has an unmistakable Bloc Party sound. The gentle ‘Water Slides’ is the highpoint. Haunting and majestic, you’ll find yourself being sucked into a fragile and eerie landscape that you’ll find instantaneous and captivating. ‘Rows’ is epic, clocking in at over 10 minutes it will take you on a journey through pop hooks and harmonies wavering close to post-rock with the addition of layered electronics. It is refined enough to not outstay its welcome, changing tones enough to keep you listening.

‘+ -‘ pushes the boundaries for Mew. While they may carry the weight of expectation they have delivered a formidable album that is enjoyable and acts as a breath of fresh air.

AD Rating 7.5/10

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1 Comment on Album Review: ‘+-‘ by Mew

  1. I enjoyed your review of this album! I feel “Rows” is one of my favorite songs off the album due to my own progressive rock taste. I just found out about this band, so I’m excited to explore more of their discography if you’re interested, I wrote about this album on my music blog as well. Have a great day!

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