The fourth release from Danish alt-pop stars Mew seems ripe for success in an American market currently embracing Coldplay/Keane epics (and their indie flipside, slacker lullabies by the Shins and Rogue Wave). And the Glass Handed Kites opener "Circuitry of the Wolf" comes churning out with stuttered strums, spooky piano and choral vocals that float into "Chinaberry Tree." From there, the disc really takes flight into comely cloud-riding orchestral candy that can get too sticky in places, even as the band attempts to temper the histrionics. J Mascis' gravelly voice tumbles into "Why Are You Looking Grave?" and "An Envoy to the Open Fields," offering a brief, gruff counterpoint to all the ethereal grandiosity. And Mew smartly keeps the sweeping synths to a minimum, making them effective against the clangy chord progressions. When the Danes hit the right altitude ("Apocalypso"), you're almost convinced living in a cumulus would be the shit. As Mew goes sailing up and over storm fronts of angelic harmonies and rolling drums, the album strikes a balance between Cocteau Twins swirl and current swells from the Doves--i.e., a very Euro sound and hence probably too unwinkingly pure of syrupy heart to grab hold on Yankee radio. But bliss such as this has a more than comfortable airspace on the Internet. And should your car commercial need a new soundtrack...
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.