Mew, the Danish troupe not the Pokemon, have been around for over two decades now and have polished their live set to match their image. Tonight their set traverses the highs of their generally well-received career, splicing the heavier moments with their glossy pop in a truly satiating way. The quintet don't exactly exude fun on stage, but a Hong Kong audience ever hungry for live music laps up their unique visual backdrop and Jonas Bjerre's lemon-drop vocals nonetheless.
Bassist Johan Wohlert gets the crowd going in time to tracks like 'Introducing Palace Players' which sound much fuller and less disjointed live. Though they've often denied their 'prog rock' leanings, this aspect is crystallised live with the scuzziness of tracks like 'Snow Brigade', which build and build until you're enveloped in the cacophony. These are punctuated perfectly with the crisp angular pop they've turned to of late and even the raw rarity of B-side 'Start' makes the cut tonight. If Mew prove anything this evening, it's that they're much more than the sum of their parts and still one of Denmark's most reliable exports.
Mew are a moody bunch. Clad in black shirts and silence they let their technique do the talking for them. Angsty guitar driven track 'Apocalypso' bleeds into 'Saviours of Jazz Ballet', which explodes into fits of retro space-age opera before sudden chasms engulf the room.
Continue reading: Mew - Hong Kong's Music Zone E-Max 18.09.17 Live Review
Dom Gourlay picks out his top ten albums of 2015
10. Girl Band - Holding Hands With Jamie
Possibly the most eagerly anticipated debut from an underground band in recent times. The Dublin foursome's first offering did not disappoint, if not quite matching the intensity of their live shows. Bristling with visceral brutality somewhere between the polemic racket of Whitehouse and awkward disdain of The Fall, 'Holding Hands With Jamie' is an uneasy yet rewarding listen.
9. Surf City - Jekyll Island
Despite having formed over a decade ago, this New Zealand outfit have been more about quality than quantity when it comes to releases. So it should come as no surprise that 'Jekyll Island', their third long player, represents arguably their finest body of work to date.
Continue reading: Dom Gourlay's Top 10 Albums Of 2015
Six years might not sound that long, but a lot can change over such a period of time. Take Mew, for example. In 2009, their fifth long player and first as a three piece 'No More Stories Are Told Today, I'm Sorry They Washed Away // No More Stories, The World Is Grey, I'm Tired, Let's Wash Away' (excuse the long title) came out to a wave of positive reviews. Having discarded the avant-garde, post-rock stylings of its predecessors for a more dance-infused, pop-based sound, it should have heralded their long-awaited and richly deserved breakthrough into the mainstream. Sadly, it didn't. Which, for a band whose ambitions and aspirations stretched far beyond any conceived limitations from the outset, must have been difficult to take.
Fast forward to May 2013 and it was back to the drawing board. No doubt revitalised by the self-imposed hiatus initiated after the promotional schedule for 'No More Stories.' had elapsed, the band decided the best course of action would be to go back to the future; literally. So, the first name on their list of would-be conspirators emerged in the shape of Michael Beinhorn, whose last contribution to the band's recordings saw him produce the predecessor to 'No More Stories.', entitled 'And The Glass Handed Kites' in 2005. With recording sessions under way, it wouldn't be long before Beinhorn persuaded them to give former bass player Johan Wohlert a call. Having left the band in 2006 after the release of 'And The Glass Handed Kites' to concentrate on becoming a father to his newly born son, Wohlert's return to the fold didn't so much change the dynamic as provide the missing link. Finally, the band then invited Bloc Party's Russell Lissack to co-write and eventually play guitar on the new record, having toured together several years earlier. While Lissack's contribution is limited to one song on the record, his input is notable on the metallic surge of 'My Complications', the album's centrepiece and one of its many highlights.
So, returning to the cryptic title '+-', it could be argued that it refers to turning a negative situation into a positive one; overcoming a dark period with a degree of optimism. Brimming with a newfound confidence and a multitude of ideas to match, '+-' was born and over the ensuing eighteen months, exquisitely crafted into arguably Mew's finest hour since 2003's 'Frengers'.
Continue reading: Mew - + - Album Review