Twenty years into a career as topsy turvy as their music Danish prog-poppers Mew unleash their seventh album hot on the heels of 2015's '+ -'.
'Visuals' suggests a band keen on writing in a spontaneous manner using all the bleakness they encountered in 2016 to add a darkness to their '80s influenced progressive music.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 27 April 2017
It's interesting to look back and wonder just how did Yes go from 'Tales From Topographic Oceans' to 'Owner of a Lonely Heart' in just ten years. Yet here are once brilliant Danish prog rockers Mew making music as polished and poppy as your go-to Radio 2 playlist thumpers. Mew, of course, were never as progressive as Yes and are now not as radio-friendly as 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. Their edges remain but I never thought when listening to 2005's superb 'And the Glass Handed Kites' that just over ten years later I'd be listening to a Mew song where I couldn't hear a guitar.
That said, Mew are one of the few commercially aimed bands that I can listen to without being suffocated by arrangements so scrubbed they are in danger of not existing at all. The reason is that they still write interesting songs and have the odd pop-out chorus and I always enjoy Jonas Bjerre's elasticated voice stretching and twisting about. Shame it's slathered in auto tune at times here. No need for that.
'Visuals' is another slight step down for a band who have been delivering marginal diminished returns for awhile without ever becoming terrible. There's some good bits - 'Candy Pieces All Smeared Out' eventually...eventually gets to a cracking chorus and 'Learn Our Crystals' shows the band doing their best Death Cab For Cutie impression and opener 'Nothingness and No Regrets' threatens to be a grand ballad suffocate slightly by Mercury Rev style bells and whistles.
Mew are still an interesting band but one which has misplaced slightly what they are good at. Stick them in a cheap studio and ban the synth tomfoolery and let's see the magic flow again.
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- Visuals by Mew
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