In 2009, Mew got world notice with No More Stories/Are Told Today/I’m Sorry/They Washed Away//No More Stories/The World Is Grey/I’m Tired/Let’s Wash Away (QRO review), combining art-rock, electronic psychedelics, and clever melodies for a monument of a fifth album. And then the Danes disappeared, only resurfacing this year with a record whose title is as short as the last one was long, + –. While it can’t match the breakthrough appeal of No More Stories…, + – is another stellar piece of work.
+ – particularly shines in its beginning. Opener “Satellites” is effective in its expanse, exactly what one would hope for when being given Mew’s own “indie-stadium” description. Yet the group is also effective in the speedier “Witness” that follows, plus subsequent “The Night Believer”. Mid-album piece “My Complications” is reminiscent of Death Cab For Cutie’s “We Look Like Giants” in the right way.
Mew can get a little involved. Penultimate “Rows” is almost eleven minutes long quiet growing into loud that can overwhelm the listener. And their sound is so striking that some songs don’t quite measure up, like the preceding “Interview the Girls”.
With bassist Johan Wohlert (QRO review) rejoining the group after missing No More Stories… to have a child, and all of the time off since that record, you knew that you weren’t going to get ‘Still No More Stories…’ or some kind of redux of their breakthrough. But they’ve nicely kept up the quality.