How I neglected to review my favorite album of the year is beyond me, but stranger things have happened, I suppose. The memories of Mewís debut, Frengers have lasted far beyond my first experiences with them on the ride from SF to Coachella 2003 and back. Itís an album Iíve gone back to time and time again since April, each time discovering a new level or layer and not yet tiring of the record in the least. When you takes bits of Ride, My Bloody Valentine and Puressence, influences of Pixies and Dinosaur Jr. and blend them into a vibrant, shoegazy, hook-laden soup with floating falsetto vocals, youíve got me hooked forever. Album opener ìAm I Wry? Noî sets the tone with its jangly guitars, but its not until frontman Jonas Bjerre opens his mouth and the most unbelievably angelic tones are emitted that you finally understand the scope of Mew. Add to that the multi-layered drum patterns of sticksman Silas Graae, similar to Ride, The Stone Roses or Catherine Wheel in their heyday and the dynamism may be becoming clear. Shimmering guitars continue throughout the album, from the heartbreakingly catchy ì156î to the driving ìSnowbrigade,î Frengers is an amazing body of work. Of course, Bjerreís mindbendingly gorgeous vocal lends itself quite well to the ballad, as new single ìShe Came Home For Christmas,î or album closer ìComforting Sounds,î prove with aplomb> Fast to slow, Mew write soul-shakingly amazing songs with grace, beauty, and melodies to spare. Just try taking it out of your changer. I dare you.
JEREMY P. GOLDSTEIN