"And The Glass Handed Kites"

(Columbia/Sony Records 2006)Mew - And The Glass Handed Kites

Danish band Mew's "And The Glass Handed Kites" is like one long musical piece, segmented into fourteen movements. Just like the great classical composers always did in their masterpieces. Except that each movement for Mew happens to actually be a song. The band's fourth album twinkles and pounds with maturity and hints at a childlike whimsy that it has reserved for a time such as this. Mew single-handedly balances their weightless melodies and comparatively heavy percussion, funneling it all into a buzzing atmosphere of sound.

Building their momentum slowly and gently on the quiet "Fox Club," the band then quickly jumps right into powerful chugging guitars before opening up into soaring rock on "Apocalypso." Meanwhile on "The Zookeeper's Boy" the band contrasts heavy pounding with falsetto vocals while going in a similar direction on "Saviours Of Jazz Ballet (Fear Me, December)," reserving a delicate, twinkling melody despite heavy instrumentation before switching to "Small Ambulance," which offers a soft choir of voices. Strongly thumping bass drives "An Envoy To The Open Fields" as sweet vocals lend a memorable melody and harmonies to the song. Mew really brings things full circle with the piano ballad "White Lips Kissed," building up and down while giving the listener a real sense of completion.

The tightly wound and wispy melodies of Mew's "And The Glass Handed Kites" have just the right distinctiveness and personality to weave themselves into your brain. Full instrumentation makes each song sound full and crisp as soft vocals add the finishing touches. Mew makes "And The Glass Handed Kites" into a puzzle where each song fits snuggly into place. When taken out of place or out of the context of their concept album, however, results may vary.


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