Mew - And the glass handed kites

When I read the words ĎConcept Albumí I was intrigued and at the same time slightly scared. Surely the era of the pretentious indulgent concept album have long gone. The visions of many fine prog bands passed by my eyes, as did the smug, self satisfied fizzog of Roger Waters. They vanished in a puff as the clanking racket of CIRCUTRY OF THE WOLF crashed though. Itís just someone tuning up and having a thrash about on the drums isnít it? It moves seamlessly in to the Fabbo guitar of CHINABERRY TREE. A peculiar song, it starts out like Thin White Rope and turns into Pet shop boys, meets Yes (including swirly keyboards), if you can imagine that mind-boggling scenario. The boggling doesnít stop there by a long chalk.

It certainly has lots of ingredients that go into the mix of a concept album. Most of the time you canít tell what track youíre on, they blend and carry on as one. Just as a proper concept album should, playing havoc when you put it on random. SPECIAL, one of the singles carries on the Petshop boys theme but matches it up with a stolen New Order bassline, it drives along at a nice little pace.

Eighties pop themes keep popping up from time to time, adding up to a slightly confused mishmash.

ZOO KEEPERíS BOY, has at first glance, some really daft lyrics, ĎBut if thereís a glitch, youíre an ostrichí You have to think about lyrics like that. Are they clever metaphors or just a load of pretentious twaddle? Another essential ingredient of the perfect concept album.

Pink Floyd elements are present with FOX CUB and DARK DESIGNS. They break up the high pitched vocal shenanigans of Jona Bjerre, which some will find intensely irritating and probably make their dogs bark.

I think I got the gist of the narrative thread, had to listen to it a couple of times to get that far, enigmatically obscure that they are. Itís an album that needs a bit of work by the listener. If you can break into the ethereal dreamscape and make some sense of it all, then the experience is in itself the reward. If you canít be arsed about such things, then this isnít the album for you.

This album may be the the break through for a new musical movement, or the one thatíll end up in the bargain bin at the record fair. Are we ready for such greatness? The juryís out on that one for moment.