Sound — 10
2 years after the brilliant Frengers, Mew finally released a follow up. And you know what? It's just nearly as brilliant as Frengers was. It's nothing like it of course, seeing as this time it seems like they've made a concept album. All the tracks (apart from the final two) link together and seemingly make one big piece of music. It works very well indeed. The opening instrumental 'Circuitry Of The Wolf' kicks the album off with thrashing guitars and pounding bass before heading into the quietly melancholic 'Chinaberry Tree' and then to the poppy 'Why Are You Looking Grave?' (featuring Dinosaur Jr's J. Marciss). The way each song shifts in dynamic is just striking. Each song has its own character and every single one acheives te task of being completely different. The band have managed to cover indie, rock, prog and experimental and done it superbly.
Lyrics — 9
Like with Frengers the downfall of this album is the lyrics. They're even more confusing this time around but again they still have glowing moments. 'Why Are You Looking Grave?' is a simple lullaby to cheer up and 'White Lips Kissed' is a soothing love song. But again as with Frengers the confusing nature of the lyrics is instantly forgotten when the singer actually sings. He voice is even better now than on Frengers. He sounds like a world weary angel wiching for something more and it lifts the album to greater heights than it did with the music alone, as they fit together perfectly.
Overall Impression — 9
Here's a track by track rundown of the album. 01. Circuitry Of The Wolf - pretty good instrumental opener. Great bass work. 02. Chinaberry Tree - beautiful prog track with a moving synthesized outro. 03. Why Are You Looking Grave? - J. Marcis guest vocals on this excellent lullaby to cheering up. 04. Fox Cub - short track which is more of a setting up track for Apocalypso. 05. Apocalypso - incredible. The highlight of the album for me. Great voals, great shifts in mood and a brilliant outro. Sheer heaven. 06. Special - great little track to jump up and down to as it has a dancey feel to it. It's about that special csomeone we all have. 07. The Zookeeper's Boy - stunningly beautiful track with haunting multi tracked harmonys. 08. A Dark Design - the indiest track on here and fairly catchy. 09. Saviours Of Jazz Ballet (Fear Me, December) - Bizarre title for a strange song. Starts with lots of guitar synth before they all disappear and give way to a beautiful piano driven piece. 10. An Envoy To Open Fields - stunning segue from 'Saviours...' into this track and a great backing vocal from J. Marcis again. The drums are fantastic here. 11. Small Ambulence - a nice enough track but too short to grasp really. 12. The Seething Rain Weeps For You (Uda Pruda) - excellent track and the most upbeat on the album with a wonderful guitar line at the end. 13. White Lips Kissed - a very nice little ballad which sadly doesnt really go anywhere. Shame. 14. Louise Louisa - a much better ballad with a great build up. The drum solos while the other instruments keep the beat. It ends beautifully with the singers solitary vocal. Altogether, it only just falls short of the greatness of Frengers with the inclusion of below par tracks and confusing lyrics. But it's made up for with great music and fantastic vocals. Another must buy.