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Release Date: Oct 18, 2005
Label: Sony / BMG Import
Number Of Tracks: 14
Producing dark and atmospheric songs, Mew posses a graceful beauty and create an epic sound with strikingly memorable tunes over which delicate vocals soar to angelic heights.
And The Glass Handed Kites
unregistered, on march 17, 2006 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 9
Overall Impression: 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. // 9
And The Glass Handed Kites
UG Team, on august 21, 2006 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: If you miss the dreamy blend of alternative rock that used to permeate much of the college radio, you won't necessarily need to make that pilgrimage to the used CD store for your fix. Mew is a throwback to the nineties' blend of airy rock, often called shoegazing, which was represented by such bands as early Lush, Cocteau Twins, and My Bloody Valentine. Hearing Mew's latest record And The Glass Handed Kites actually is a refreshing blast from the past, but it may not hit a chord with listeners needing a bit more edge in their playlist.
The style is not for everyone, and you'll either appreciate this album immediately or forget about it quickly. The high, ethereal vocals of Jonas Bjerre could grate on fans of more testosterone-driven rock, but it's actually nice to hear an alternative to the screamo formula heard in rock today. Guitarist Bo Madsen, former bassist Johan Wohlert, and drummer Silas Utke Graae Jrgensen are an incredible musicians, creating an atmospheric sound that should be appreciated for the ever-changing arrangements.
Each song is constructed with a thick wall of sound, incorporating synth-like effects and well-crafted guitar tones. Even if Mew's style is not what you usually listen to, the band does an excellent job of taking each songs in a different directions. The track Why Are You Looking Grave starts out a bit blandly, but when it makes a sudden time change midway through the song, it takes on a different life. In most of the tunes on And The Glass Handed Kites, Mew do succeed in creating intriguing guitar lines that go beyond the average chords.
Because Mew's sound is very distinct, it is both a blessing and a curse. It's melodically soothing, but often times too much so. For listeners who enjoy the unique vocals of Bjerre and the flowing sounds accompanying him, then Mew's new CD will be a pleasing addition. The problem is that even on their faster tempo songs, the band's songs never have much edge to them. An example of this is A Dark Design, in which the vocals flow so well with the music that it almost feels like an instrumental at times. Not a bad thing, but it might some listeners might be in need of a more grabbing vocalist. // 8
Lyrics: It could be a language issue, but the lyrics on And The Glass Handed Kites just don't make a bit of sense sometimes. Much of the time, the words are downright odd. In Apocalypso Bjerre sings, Black waves come; And so fear me, December; Sinking in Nolan time; I've lost all my pure feelings; The psychiatrist posing as psychologist. It's very possible that there is a deep, personal meaning behind the lyrics, but to the average listener, you might just be scratching your head the whole time.
When sung, the delivery of the lyrics flows well. So much so that you might even find yourself not really paying attention to the lyrics. The music is fascinating in it's own right, and thankfully, that spares us from trying to make sense out of a song like Chinaberry Tree. In the song Bjerre exclaims, In parallel sea what would I be? My first love said to me: Tears out for the world to see; I would not be; I did not see the chinaberry tree. Rather than figure out what this chinaberry tree has to do with his first love, it's better to just awe at Bjerre's intriguing vocal style. // 5
Overall Impression: Mew is a fascinating band, there is no doubt about it. Guitarist Madsen and bassist Wohlert contribute some of the best aspects of the CD, when seemingly plain chords suddenly explode with unexpected layers. Probably the most unique aspect of Mew is Bjerre's soaring vocals, which often sound eerily like Yes' Jon Anderson.
And The Glass Handed Kites almost feels like a progressive concept album at times, with it's intermittent instrumental moments and epic-like sounds. For listeners who want a song with a meaty sound, full of distortion, and a passionate vocalist whose lyrics are easily comprehendible, Mew would not be the band for you. It really does come down to taste in this case. The CD will not appeal to everyone, but even so, the band has left it's mark as creatively unique musicians not afraid to think outside the box. // 7
And The Glass Handed Kites
unregistered, on may 03, 2006 0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Beacause of the band being Scandinavian, their overall sound is dark, mystic and melancholic. Typical for a band from these origins. Mew is a band whom have succeded in mixing dark, guitar-driven rock with beautiful melancholic sounds and harmonics. The guitars proves on track after track that there's nothing wrong with heavy riffs, without distortion. On several of the tempo-tracks, the riffs are heavy, but with a clean sound that really makes it for me. It shows that you don't really have to blow the listners brains out to make a good rock album. As on their last album, "Frengers", the drums are again a big part of their sound and dominates most of the tracks, which sadly is something you don't hear very often these days. And on top of this the basswork is incredible. The opening track, Circuitry Of The Wolf, is a brilliant mix of all the instruments: Guitars, bass, drums and piano. And the vocal piece where the band functions like a choir, really adds to the emotional aspect. Beautiful! // 10
Lyrics: The lyrics is quite often wierd and doesn't really makes much sense when you first hear the songs, and to be fair, you really have to be a hard-core Mew fan to figure out what it's all about. But in the end, the lyrics are powerful and the way he sings it is quite unique and has almost an angelic touch. // 9
Overall Impression: Mew is a fairly unique band and it does not compare to any other bands, I've ever heard. What I love about this record is the diversity between rock, ballads and prog rock. Perfection! I've already bought two copies of the album so I think I should be quite safe. // 10