Mew: + -

Prog goes pop... meows about that then?

TODO alt text

Since 1994, Denmark’s Mew – the cheery, cherubic face of 21st-century prog-pop – have been baffling and delighting the more adventurous pop fans – the sort of people willing to chase a swerving, free-form glacial melody through a fairground fun-house of a song.

Concept albums, scorching Sigur Ros sonic sorcery and extended intergalactic synth-pop wibbles akin to the Beach Boys trapped in one of those space mirrors from Superman II are generally the order of the day for Mew, but this sixth album condenses their fiddlier complexities into one of their most direct and accessible records yet.

The Night Believer, Interview The Girls and My Complications allow singer Jonas Bjerre’s elfin tonsils to float angelically around sparkly, non-elusive choruses for a change, but there’s still abundant wonky weirdness for the faithful.

Making Friends is a bizarre blend of psychedelia, 80s funk and beatbox hip-hop, Water Slides is a skittering laptop epic, and the orchestral-synth Rows is essentially the sound of the entire Barbican complex taking off bound for Venus, arriving 10 minutes later in the middle of a sci-fi hula party. At last, a Mew album as essential as it is deeply odd./o:p