The Cult of Mew

On the back of the excellent new single 'Apocalypso' and fresh from a tour with REM, Mew return to the UK with a handful of dates before their full length tour in September.

The Academy 3 is a small venue and tonight it's definitely standing room only, not quite sold out but there's certainly a good crowd in. Danish band Mew are surely due to throw off the tag of 'cult band' when their new album hits these shores in September. The band take the stage to an atmospheric intro and a rapturous reception. They remain shrouded in darkness until the first notes of 'Circuitry of the Wolf' when the lights come up to reveal them clad in matching black suits.

The sound is a touch harsh but perhaps it reflects the slightly rawer sound of the forthcoming album, after a couple of songs it's barely noticeable though. Midway through the opening song the backdrop is illuminated with their own strange but atmospheric films, each one tailored to the particular song (as you'd expect when they're made by the singer!). Vocalist Jonas vocals are high pitched but powerful and whilst often in direct contrast to the off beat rhythm it's a combination that works well.

Musically Mew are often dark and brooding but the vocals manage to make them sound uplifting and soulful at the same time, something that in no small part contributes to Mew's unique sound. The combination of projections and lights coupled with the infectious and engaging nature of the songs would easily work on a bigger stage and on tonight's showing it would be no surprise if they get the chance to play bigger venues next time around.

Keeping the same line up since their conception makes for a thoroughly slick performance, it's almost impossible not to get drawn into their sound. Mew sound like no other band around and that makes them both unique and refreshing in equal measure. Of course it does help that they are also a damn good band! Jonas doesn't give the most exciting of visual performances but his vocals more than make up for it. They mix old and new songs into the set with ease and all get an excellent crowd reaction, whilst not wildly different the newer material does move Mew on to a new level, perhaps best illustrated by 'Apocalypso' although special mention must go to a brilliant version of 'Zoo Keepers Boy'.

Just short of the hour mark they leave the stage, predictably the crowd clamour for more and they duly return for an encore of crowd favourite 'Comforting Sounds'. Amongst the plethora of dreary shoe gazing indie that fills the airwaves at present Mew are a welcome distraction, doing their own thing and doing it extremely well, roll on September!

Set List:
Circuity of the Wolf
Am I Wry? No
Snow Brigade
The Zookeepers Boy
Eight Flew Over One Was Destroyed
She Came Home for Christmas
Pink Monster
Why Are You Looking Grave
She Spider
Comforting Sounds