The title of Mew’s fifth full length album is nowhere near the longest album title ever, that honor goes to a 2008 Chumbawamba release that features a laughable 865 characters, but it is a garrulous mouthful. The full name of the album is as follows: No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Gray I'm Tired Let's Wash Away. From now on I will spare you and simply refer to it as No More Stories.
There’s only one problem I have with the verbose title the band decided to use for their newest album, and that is that it may be a detractor to the amazing work of art it represents. Though I’m sure in most publications and friendly conversations the album will be referred to as simply No More Stories; some may read the wordy title, shrug and not give it a fair chance. If this were to happen it would be a great tragedy, for not only is this album the band’s finest effort yet, it’s also an adventurous wonder that takes the listener through beautifully layered musical landscapes. So in this case it’s not just unwise to judge a book by its cover, but by its title as well.
Although I know that Mew has had a solid fan base and a pretty good repertoire for a few years now (or at least since the release of 2003’s Frengers), I still really never understood what all the fuss was about. Their 2005 album And The Glass Handed Kites was universally praised, and though I did find it rather interesting it never grabbed me the way it did some of my peers. No More Stories has more than changed my opinion on these Danish rockers though. More upbeat and pop oriented than its predecessor, the band’s newest album is a trip through numerous genres and destinations. From the catchy “Repeaterbeater,” which relies on the silky smooth vocals of Jonas Bjerre, to the eclectic rock of “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy” which implements saxophone and a children’s choir into the mix, No More Stories is a relaxing trip to both beautiful and exotic destinations.
The adventure starts out with the muddled dream pop flavor of “New Terrain.” A song which apparently sounds clearer when played in reverse, though it’s a fine way to start off the album as is. The opening track’s transition into the odd rhythms of “Introducing Palace Players” is seamless. This allows “Players” to build into a catchy, groove inducing track highlighted by Bjerre’s voice – a voice that serves as a powerful, ranging instrument throughout the album. No More Stories is more than just shoegaze-lite and beautifully crafted indie pop though. “Cartoons and Macrame’ Wounds” is a soft and loud epic that builds itself on a lovely set of layered vocals. Meanwhile, the jovial “Hawaii” is filled to the brim with palpable grandeur, a perfect song to put on repeat after a long day and just get lost in the sonic bliss. After “Hawaii Dream,” which is the song in which the title of the album takes its name from, the following track “Vaccine” ups the tempo at just the right time. Driven by the swirl of piano keys, the expertly crafted tune begins by allowing the listener to swim in Bjerre’s shimmering melodies before the bass comes into play and the song really takes off, eventually allowing the band to segue into hardest hitting guitar work on the album. The disc refuses to fade away down the stretch either, despite a 14 song track list. The next to last number “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy” is one of the true highlights on the album, a song that just screams of originality and yet still fits into the comfortable beauty that the rest of the record so clearly emits.
If music fans decide to overlook No More Stories because of its outlandish title or its rather odd cover art (though to be fair, the artwork for And The Glass Handed Kites was much worse), they’re no doubt missing out on something special. These things are out of my control though, just like the mesmerizing effect that Mew’s newest effort has had on me for the past week. No More Stories is a dazzling effort by a band that is quietly creating some of the most interesting and beautiful rock music this side of Copenhagen. Long title or short, Mew’s newest album is the musical adventure of the summer.
"No More Stories..." is on sale August 25, 2009 from Columbia.