Mew

Visuals

Play It Again Sam

Apr 27, 2017 Issue #60 - Father John Misty Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Danish trio Mew are hipsters outside the cool scene; prog-rockers more interested in creating epic, dreamy pop than singing about ancient monuments. They've made a career from going their own way, often to startlingly impressive effect, but with Visuals, for the first time it feels like they've fallen short.

Their seventh album arrives only two years after + - and comes without guitarist Bo Madsen, who left the band in 2015. Although a key component, they've lost people before (admittedly Johan Wohlert has since returned) without their sound diminishing. This time diminished seems an apt description for an album that feels smaller and more compact, lacking the glorious floating extravagances of the past. With only one song over five minutes, it's full of shorter work that seems to stifle ideas.

That's not to say Visuals isn't capable of delivering a number of knockout tracks. Opener "Nothingness and No Regrets" begins like a fairytale, bringing Jonas Bjerre's high wistful singing in on top. It's a good two minutes before the drums kick in to take things up a notch. "In a Better Place" is closer to classic anthemic Mew, while "Learn Our Crystals" is an oddly groovy track. Then there's the sublime "85 Videos" with its air-punching chorus.

In-between come a lot of filler, the likes of "Twist Quest" and "Zanzibar" in particular failing to register at all. The cryptic lovelorn lyrics, dwelling on nostalgia and small details are still there, but it's a band limiting themselves. "Candy Pieces All Smeared Out" is the prime example of the confusion at the heart of Visuals. It tries to mix dreamy Mew with hard rock Mew and ends up stuck in the middle. What remains is a strong EP blown up into a flawed full-length. (www.mewsite.com)

Author rating: 6/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10



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