First Listen: Mew, '+-'

April 20, 2015 3:03 AM

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"In your chrysalis I go," croons Jonas Bjerre, the elf-voiced frontman of Denmark's Mew, in the soaring song "Interview The Girls." It's one of the standout tracks on the group's sixth album, cryptically titled +-, and Bjerre's poetic verse is symbolic of the disc as a whole: Six years after Mew's last full-length, No More Stories..., the progressive-pop band has morphed again, this time into a more streamlined, potent, startlingly evolved version of itself. Riffs still rise and melodies still swell, but there's haunting spaciousness at the heart of the album that's as heart-stopping as a time-lapse film of a butterfly's transformation.

Grandiosity is the name of Mew's game, and +- doesn't forget it for a second. The bulk of the album is a mix of cascading anthems and cosmic pop that recalls vintage prog — think Peter Gabriel's time with Genesis — as well as the shoegazing sumptuousness of My Bloody Valentine. It shouldn't be an ea...

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