Venus HumEdit this event
Tonight's gig is a bit of a weird one. People are queuing from about 7 onwards, and the stage is empty until 9pm. Everyone's here to see Mew, Scandinavian songbirds who've been making waves across several countries lately. However things get interesting long before they step onstage. Nashville's Venus Hum, the only support tonight, are a surprising treat and they captivate from start to finish. Vocalist Annette Strean's exuberant voice echoes the richness and purity of Sarah McLachlan's vocal talents, but she uses her voice like Bjork or Liz Fraser, swooping and soaring, dipping and darting in and out of velveteen melodies like a seagull above open water. Playful and smiling, Venus Hum's music recalls the lilting soundscapes of the Cocteau Twins and the clever, diverse tapestries of Subgud. Aside from interruptions by a lone electric guitar from time to time, she's entirely backed by samplers, synthesisers, keyboards and computers - and the result glows with unexpected soul and ecstatic, exhilarating emotion. They'll be back in January - for god's sake, see them.
Mew** have everything going for them; pretty faces, production from [and a duet with] woefully underrated Swedish songstress Stina Nordenstam, and Alan McGee as a manager. It's so meticulously organised, it leaves you wondering where they found room to squeeze in some part of themselves. There are no lights during their set. All eyes are on the projections behind them - kooky animations and hurtling light-grids that charge towards your eyes through the haze of Mew's darkly dream-laden songs, which marry Sigur Ros's blurry, cloudy musings with the sighing angel-pop of the Poor Rich Ones. It should work, but something is lost in the fusion of the two. The trembling basslines, which should make your knees buckle...don't. The falsetto vocals and impassioned melodies, which by rights should break your heart thrice over, instead summon thoughts of who they sound like. As they close with a crescendo of clamouring sound, it's clear how much work has gone into this, and one can't fault them on precision and sincerity, but at times it'd be so much more effective if they'd unclench their teeth, let the veil slip for a second and give us a glimpse of the emotion bubbling beneath it.
More on Mew in our tour report, coming very soon...
- In Photos: Slottsfjell Festival 2010 @ Tønsberg, Norway
- In Photos: OFF Festival 2010 @ Dolina Trzech Stawow, Poland
- Truck Week: DiS meets Mew
- Truck Week: An Introduction
- Festival News Round-Up #5
- Festival News Round-Up #2
- 101 Nordic: A Northern Lights-lit Playlist
- Mew's Jonas Bjerre teams up with Coldplay and A-Ha members to form supergroup