Mew: And the Glass Handed Kites 

While at the Record Exchange recently, a track came on the store stereo that was all angular and metal. As I was about to tune out and put on the listening station earphones to check out the new Rapture disc, the song broke into this ethereal piece of high-register pop. As sugary as the breakfast Danish I had just eaten, the chorus to "Zookeeper's Boy" by Mew (who hail from Denmark) led me to the counter to inquire where I would find the disc. Brian Rambur tossed me a copy of And the Glass Handed Kites, Mew's newest release. I bought it and drove off. When I got home, I sat in my driveway listening to the CD. There were bits of OK Computer, Slayer, My Bloody Valentine and even (cough) Coldplay. And the Glass Handed Kites, however, is not pastiche. It's more like prog rock with a pop sensibility. The album gives nods to Yes and Mars Volta with odd time signatures and quick progression changes only to give way to melodies that ring with the best of them. The record is an incredibly cohesive piece of work that ranges from other worldly ballads to shoe-gazer tunes featuring J. Mascis (of Dinosaur Jr.) singing background vocals. The end result is a frequently rewarding mind-blower of an album that will have record store employees and listeners alike struggling for description.

--Ryan Peck

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