Mew has really outdone themselves. They have successfully put out an album with a title longer than Marnie Stern’s This is It and I am it and You are it and So is That and He is It and She is It and It is it and That is That and A Silver Mt. Zion’s He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of our Rooms. They have also tied themselves for having one of the most awesomely bad album covers since their 2005 release And the Glass Handed Kites.
Musically, however,No More Stories is one of 2009’s most exciting, unabashedly huge albums. Positioned somewhere between 70’s swooning prog-rock and Radiohead’s daring pastiche, Mew is as accessible as they are beguiling. No More Stories starts out a BMSR type skittering back beat with a thick, sugary rush of synths and backwards-yet-sung-forwards vocals on the track “New Terrain”. More than a few listens later and I am still not sure how they are recording the vocals. “Introducing Palace Players” has an insanely off-kilter, math time signature and Pinback style fractured guitar riffs buried under a glorious overload of synths, glockenspiels, and saccharine processed vocals of Jonas Bjerre’s affable Danish accent. And a choir singing the chorus on “Silas the Magic Car” and “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy”, I think I went into a diabetic shock of awesomeness.
No More Stories finds Mew and their most pared down with only three members. The conservative amount of personnel makes a mockery of bands that feel the need to fill their ranks with 6-9 to achieve a sound that does not even half-way reach the musical complexity and sheer gargantuan quality of Mew’s studio output. No More Stories is one of the most addictive and melodious albums this year. The tunesmenship here is incredible. They never let the legion of time signature change ups, multi-instrument pile ups, or an occasional vocal choir get in the way of incredibly catchy choruses and basic pop song structures. I know it sounds cliche, but Mew has something for everyone. And in era of self indulgent tripe, that says a lot.