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78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critic Reviews What's this?

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8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 46 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first new studio release in six years from the Danish art rock band sees the return of original bassist Johan Wohler and was produced by Michael Beinhorn.
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Top Track

Satellites
Swimming fast Hone in on the buzz in ways you could not I like you real silver-like Oh see them fast, take off at last And we get better I wanna... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. +- stands up to all of their previous records easily, and while there aren't any major shifts in their trademark formula, it is another step forward in the ever expanding career of the danish band.
  2. May 1, 2015
    80
    Free from any sort of major-label constraints, the band sounds both invigorated and restless, and while deciphering their skewed Danish pop sensibilities can often prove challenging, it's well worth the effort, as the results can just as often be breathtaking.
  3. Q Magazine
    Apr 20, 2015
    80
    It's a record which ultimately leaves you cleansed. [May 2015, p.108]
  4. Classic Rock Magazine
    May 12, 2015
    80
    At last, a Mew album as essential as it is deeply odd. [Jun 2015, p.97]
  5. May 4, 2015
    75
    It would be unfair and disingenuous to Mew to say that each song follows a template, but the band have become so proficient at producing affirming, soaring pop-rock music that it's easy to forget just how much is going on in each track.
  6. May 1, 2015
    72
    Mew’s most consistently engaging record, even if it’s also the longest on both a cumulative and per-song basis.
  7. Apr 23, 2015
    40
    Mew don’t quite convert slight self-indulgence into tunes, with several here (Water Slides, Making Friends and Interview the Girls) never really going anywhere.

See all 17 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. May 14, 2015
    10
    Just a magical musical experience, a stunning album, with a light and soft atmosphere. Press "Play" you just plunge into this album and forgetJust a magical musical experience, a stunning album, with a light and soft atmosphere. Press "Play" you just plunge into this album and forget about everything. I will say again, the album "a magical musical experience." Expand
  2. Jun 3, 2015
    10
    Mew are back and quite possibly better than ever. The talent and musicianship shown in their work is impeccable. Their dizzying instrumentalsMew are back and quite possibly better than ever. The talent and musicianship shown in their work is impeccable. Their dizzying instrumentals topped off by intoxicating vocals have really been missed. I don't see how critics can only award a 77. The 9.1 user score is definitely more accurate.This is art rock without succumbing to pretention Expand
  3. Apr 29, 2015
    9
    Another masterpiece. Mew takes a pop turn on a few songs. One, in particular, "Making Friends," might confuse listeners at first, but the oddAnother masterpiece. Mew takes a pop turn on a few songs. One, in particular, "Making Friends," might confuse listeners at first, but the odd turns that make their music interesting are still all contained within it. The third tune on the record, "Night Believer," features a duet with Kimbra, who has a lovely voice, but it can catch the listener off-guard. Both of these songs are great, but may take a few listens to show their place in this collection of songs. The rest of the tunes are exactly what a Mew fan is looking for, though none of it is rehashed. Powerful rock single? Check (Witness). Epic ballad? Check (Cross The River). Airy dance song? Check (Clinging To A Bad Dream). They have managed to tread new ground while maintaining maximum Mew-ness. It's a little more ebullient than No More Stories but has some characteristics that make it almost a companion album, even though they were released five years apart. As with most Mew records, it takes a few listens to truly reveal itself, but that's what the best music does. I'm having a hard time remembering my initial reactions because it has morphed into a different album for me after repeated plays. Considering most modern music shows its hand instantly, I've been really enjoying getting to know +-. Expand
  4. May 13, 2015
    8
    I had never heard of Mew until a couple weeks ago. That’s how little I know about this band. But despite the lack of knowledge of theirI had never heard of Mew until a couple weeks ago. That’s how little I know about this band. But despite the lack of knowledge of their history and discography, this band and I have crossed paths. After hearing so much on the internet of their great album released last month, I found my hands grasped around a copy of their latest album “+-” with pure excitement.

    Mew is the proactive example of all that is great with indie rock, showing hints of progressive rock influences. There might not be twenty minute compositions full of mellotron and improvisation guitar, but you can tell that these gentlemen probably blasted some essential prog albums in the past by the way they play on this album. Granted “+-“ leans more towards the indie side (and possibly even pop), there are many moments of progginess. From the time signature changes, the long drawn out progressions, and the overall experimental nature of these guys, Mew is definitely an interesting band. Now with that said, this album is very straightforward and restricted, not straying too far away from the craziness that comes with the genre.

    After a six year lapse between records, this album is a culmination of all the influences that have been building up in these guys for a long time. What resulted is a very indie sound, restrained in many ways. The songs are safe, meaning they don’t deliver those moments of time-changing rhythms and improvisational experimentation that give most people headaches. That does not mean that it isn’t good; in fact, I thoroughly enjoyed this album, and consider it one of my favorites I’ve found this year. Despite the simplicity, “+-“ is overtly catchy, generating very radio friendly love songs that can easily spark conversations between rock music lovers.

    The extremely falsetto voice of Bjerre is charismatic throughout the album. Bjerre has an almost angelic voice that dances from cloud to cloud. His voice perfectly matches the airiness of this album, due in part to the echoed guitar work by Madsen and ambient keyboards throughout the album. Bjerre’s voice leaves the listener in a dreamlike trance with a voice fitting of a such a pop/prog/indie album, three genres containing notable falsetto vocalists throughout their histories. The song “Water Slides” is the best example of his range and intensity, a tune I could easily imagine Taylor Swift covering. His voice rises and drops like a bumpy road, and is very pleasant on the ears. Other notable vocals tracks are “Interview the Girls” and “Clinging to a Bad Dream,” being one of my favorite songs off the album.

    Ambiguous is how I describe Mew’s lyrics. Bjerre has a special way of confusing me when I read the lyrics along with Mew’s songs. While unclear, Bjerre beautifully delivers the lyrics, which almost makes up for everything. Much of the lyrics in “+-“ are best felt than heard. The opening lyrics to the poppy “Making Friends” is the perfect example:

    "No way / Say I’ll fit in because I live here now / It’s alright / On this street no one looks at the sky / Summer treats / No thank you / Inside, I looked at you / You were there making friends / I think so”

    On the other hand are beautifully written and discernible lyrics of songs like “Cross the River On Your Own,” a heartfelt breakup song. The song’s chorus is the perfect group of words describing someone’s failed attempt to move on from a relationship:

    “You be good to me / And I, I’ll be good to you / Don’t let go of your light / It’s your best friend in the world / I hope you’ll learn what Heaven knows / Who cares if I go?”

    As for the rest of the band, “+-“ has great moments of progressive-pop compromised beats. Some songs have harps and synthesizers, while others use the typical rock band instruments. Some songs are much shorter and straightforward (“Making Friends” and “The Night Believer”), while others are longer compositions with great magnitude.

    The two best songs are the last two: “Rows” and “Cross the River On Your Own.” Because the best are the last, I am not suggesting at all you skip through the album to the end. Instead, wait in anticipation, knowing that “+-“ only gets better as you listen on. “Rows” is by far the proggiest of their songs, with a runtime over 10 minutes long. A slow, subdued rhythm is shadowed by Bjerre’s vocals, but the roles completely flip by the song’s end. The experimentation and sound effects that envelope the second half are truly amazing, generating a jammy beat that I cannot help but dance to in my chair. “Cross the River On Your Own” may not be nearly as proggy or as long as “Rows” (only clocking in at 7 ½ minutes), but the song is just as strong. In fact, I’d say it is the most moving track on the album. A simple fingerpicked rhythm in a vocally-dominated song that reminds me of high school prom, Madsen, Wohlert, and Jorgensen succeed in complementing Bjerre’s strengths. The closest thing to a solo appears in this song as well, which passionately closes out the album.
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  5. Apr 28, 2015
    5
    I generally like Mew's sound, but can't enjoy this one as much as their other stuff. It's too 80's both regarding the guitar and synth sounds,I generally like Mew's sound, but can't enjoy this one as much as their other stuff. It's too 80's both regarding the guitar and synth sounds, it's too pop-punk in its' riffs, it's too cliché in its' pop parts and too forced in it's unexpected parts -- completely against what's usually the case. What seemed to be special with Mew before was that they could find something melodic in the obscure or unexpected, now it seems that it's either weird or too classic.

    It's a really well produced album however, and Bjerre sounds good on the album. Love the bass as well, but the vocal, the drums and the bass can't carry the rest.
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