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- ICA, London »
This is meditative.
Think of Sigur Rós. Then imagine the girl of your dreams reaching in to kiss you, and just as your lips bump she spews in your mouth. Imagine an angel flying over and dumping white goo on you, seagull-style. Think beauty and the bleak thud of military drums. Ignore the fact the singer looks like Johnny Borrell's stunt double. Give a thought to the quivering choirboy who just got pinned down by his stripping vicar. Listen hard enough and you'll hear clouds of soot pounce like black kittens and leap like a puma before warping like storm clouds into puffs of dragon breath.
These songs swoop like a band playing on a row boat. Think about all the lushest melodies pouring out of three waterfalls then flowing into one and perhaps you're somewhere close to this; not unlike the Flaming Lips drinking the putrid water left out by dEUS. In these math-rock inspired Biffy/At The Drive-In -recalling song structures, four songs (usually three parts saccharine, one part anorexic/skeletal metal) become one. The vocals are almost feline in their beauty (stop thinking about Jonsi, please), while the bass and snarling synths evoke twilit winter forests, almost like Cradle of Filth at their most sedate.
There aren't many major label Scandi-rockers who can both tour with Nine Inch Nails and end their set with the Cheshire cat refrain "No, there is no escape, from my snowflake cave." At times it's too sweet - like being trapped in a padded cell made of marshmallows and being told to eat your way out. Yet it's not twee. Can anything truly be too sweet?
They run through the well-received debut album stuff, drop a few bits from the lesser known Frengers and share a few bits from the new album. Then it ends. Those are not boos, it's the crowd "mew"-ing for more. Fuck cliche-speak like 'fan-favourites', the wafty talk commonly slung at bands-wot-iz-not-en-vogue (Idlewild and Elbow spring to mind). Screw also-ran chat about Longpigs. All these empty things you read in tossed off 60-word reviews of Mew will barely scrape the surface of the wonder on show tonight (nor will the above floral fuck-duggery). Because this certainly is a 'show', replete with gratuitous lighting, projections, and a children's choir-featuring on the backing track.
Where they go from here depends not so much on how good they are, but how lucky the people who work for them are. Their success or rather the lack of, will be down to finding fans in high places willing to take a risk on such a joyous but utterly bewildering band.
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