It’s been six years since the Danish indie alternative rock band Mew released a full-length album, but they definitely haven’t forgotten how to make a great song. Titled +-, the group’s sixth album brought their ethereal style of music into focus with a packed album of title-track worthy songs one after another. Having never heard of nor listened to the group prior to this release, I found myself apprehensive at first, but as the album progressed, I grew ever more enthusiastic. The album is easy to listen to and even easier to enjoy. Swelling melodies, deep beats, and outer space-like synth intertwine to create a rich, full array, yet the album still seems to be on a space-walk, as though it’s lighter than air and impossible to bring down.
The album opens with a song that sounds like it would fit right in on the next alien visitor’s playlist. As an opener, “Satellites” gives of a pretty false impression of the rest of the album, but it’s actually one of my favorites. The out-of-this-world feeling that this song really focuses on is just beautiful and soothing with frontman Jonas Bjerre and his absurdly light, yet traveling voice. This softer song crashes into the next as “Witness” sets the real tempo of the rest of the album: fast-paced, fun, and exactly what I’m looking for. A sweet synth and an unrelenting beat, courtesy of bassist Johan Wohlert and drummer Silas Utke Graae Jorgensen, truly carry every song in the album and really only slow down to let you breathe once the entire time. The rest of the album is full of the guitarist Bo Madsen driving home the melodies, getting your blood pumping, and bringing a truly different sound to each song.
I love the spirit of all the songs. They aren’t depressive and more upbeat, even the angelic ballads. I also couldn’t get enough of the soft synth undertones throughout the whole album. What truly made me feel enthusiastic about the whole album were the washed out vocals, rather than being the focus of the song; they are simply an equal part of it. It lets you get lost in the music and feel as though you really can hear the lyrics, which were stirring and emotional and just the right amount of indistinct and artsy.
I feel as though Mew really refined their untouchable, limitless style of music, but it’s still something you can tap your foot to and really find exciting. Many of the songs, such as “The Night Believer” or “My Complications,” had a very danceable feel, which really made them bounce. On the other hand, slower songs, such as “Water Slides,” brought out the lyrics with the singers raising the song above the rest. These slower, soothing songs are where the band shines the most with their signature fantastical and ethereal style.
Honestly, the album brought refinement and variety throughout, in comparison to other albums of similar style in the recent years. The album never faltered and never got even the tiniest bit boring. Every song brings something new to the table and deserves a listen. I loved the interlocking of the fast paced instrumentals paired with an echo-y, subdued vocal line. When trying to listen to the individual parts, the fact that the song is shared so equally among them all sucked me in further and further as I heard the balance and effort in each part. The more I listened to +-, the more fun I had. I couldn’t help but smile as the album kept on. It’s definitely one of the greatest albums I’ve heard in a while. I had an absolute blast listening to it. If you have any albums you want me to review, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know!