September 02, 2021

Mew - Frengers (2003) ☠

Country: Denmark
Language: English
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label Number: 511023 2
.FLAC via Florenfile
.AAC 256 kbps via Florenfile

☠: Selected by Lass
© 2003 Epic/Evil Office
AllMusic Review by Jon O'Brien
Following two critically-acclaimed limited edition studio albums, prog-rock quintet Mew finally allow audiences outside their native Denmark to hear their mesmerising blend of crunching guitars, lush operatic production and Jonas Bjerre's stunning girlish vocals, with their first major label release. Frengers: Not Quite Friends But Not Quite Strangers lifts five tracks from its 2000 predecessor Half The World Is Watching Me and a sole number from 1997 debut A Triumph For Man, and adds four brand new compositions to produce a breathtaking and ambitious epic which echoes the experimental post-rock of Sigur Ros, the ethereal avant-garde pop of Mercury Rev and the emotive bombastics of JJ72, occasionally all at the same time. None more so than on the opening track "Am I Wry? No," which combines haunting choral verses, blistering military rhythms and distorted My Bloody Valentine-esque riffs with a sweetly melodic pop chorus and a sweeping orchestral middle-eight to create the feel of a particularly schizophrenic mini rock-opera. "156" is just as eclectic, opening with some Pink Floyd-inspired trippy atmospherics, before merging into a driving attempt at soft-metal, complete with razor-edged guitar solo, and ending in a flurry of hypnotic robotic chanting, while "Snow Brigade" is a thrilling fusion of eerie space-age synths, frenetically paced beats and intense post-grunge hooks which also finds time to incorporate a clubby house-influenced breakdown into its multi-layered four minutes. Things calm down with the sparse piano-based ballad "Symmetry," an enchanting duet with Becky Jarrett, a delicately-voiced unknown fourteen year old from Georgia, and the jangly shoe-gazing "Behind The Drapes." But their impressive ability to effortlessly blend contrasting sounds re-appears on "Her Voice Is Beyond Her Years," a brooding bass-driven indie number featuring the angelic vocals of Swedish singer-songwriter Stina Nordenstam, "She Spider" which effortlessly shifts from glacial folk to falsetto-led psychedelic rock, and the closing track, "Comforting Sounds," which encapsulates all of the above in one dramatic nine-minute epic. However, the album's highlight is provided by its most conventional moment. "She Came Home For Christmas," whose lilting piano chords and anthemic chorus masks its rather dark and distinctly non-festive lyrical themes, is a gorgeously melancholic ballad which shows that despite their experimental tendencies, the band are no strangers to writing the odd big pop hook too. The meandering and pretentiously-titled "Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed" aside, Frengers is an album of pure beauty whose textured soundscapes and other-worldly vocals has produced a truly rewarding and captivating musical experience.

tags: mew, frengers, 2003, flac,


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