Review Summary: Mew have reached their full potential. Listening to this it's hard to imagine any other band creating epic pop songs as well as Mew and execute them so adeptly and cohesively as No More Stories...
I feel comfortable saying that Mew is the most under-appreciated band. I know, I know; but objectivity be damned, Mew will always own a soft spot in my heart. Music can fill many rolls. Personally, I’ve oft used Mew to escape. Something about the Danish band and their other-wordly, consuming tunes have always peaked my interest. If I felt like my day was mediocre and wasn’t looking up, Frengers took me away to a place where I could forget about my surroundings. I fell in love with the epic pop songs. They created a vast, wonderful landscape, free of pretension, free of stress, where I found it easy to relax.
...and then came No More Stories.... Mew continues in the the basic path they had taken with Frengers and And The Glass Handed Kites, but progresses and changes in a way that sounds very organic and natural. Mew haven’t forgotten their strengths. Jonas Bjerre’s ethereal vocals are executed perfectly. The songs flow seamlessly into one another, creating a listening experience where it’s impossible to hit the “next” button. Once again, it’s best listened to as a whole, musical experience. Swirling, dreamy atmospheric pop defines this record, while still managing to be diverse and distinct at the same time.
Darker songs and more emotion are laden throughout the record. If Mew have advanced in one area of their music, their conveyance of emotion is arguably the most prominent on No More Stories.... Where Frengers and And The Glass... were much more neutral and passive, No More Stories stretches the boundaries a little, bordering into darker, brooding epics that leave a little more debris circling in your mind than Mew’s previous efforts. This change into more emotional territory could have been expected.
On the other hand, the other prominent quirk was a bit of a surprise. The synth beats and pure danceability of No More Stories... contrast with the ominous atmosphere of the album, that begins with the wieldy title that quotes a mid-album lyric, “No more stories/are told today/I'm sorry/they washed away/no more stories/the world Is grey/I'm tired/let's wash away.”
Little can be said about the rest of the lyrics, though. If you get my drift, it’s more about how the words actually sound
than what they actually mean. For instance, it’s hard not to smile when Bjerre coos, “We know so much/so much we do.”
Perhaps the greatest strength of No More Stories... is its pure listenability. It manages to remain interesting and incredibly likeable at the same time. Time seems to pass faster when I become engrossed in No More Stories.... I could mention the swelling track “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy,”
complete with children’s choir, for it’s outstanding vocals. Basically, it’s the quiet-loud recipe done right. I could allude to the great beats of “Introducing Palace Players,”
or maybe even the rich atmosphere of “Hawaii.” Though, I would feel like it isn’t worth worth it. The cohesiveness of this album is rarely duplicated.
Please don’t let Mew fly under the radar any longer. Elegant and ambitious, No More Stories... is Mew’s magnus opus. And while it’s hard to find any flaw whatsoever, I also can’t call this a classic. Mew have hit the ceiling. I feel like this is as good as it gets for Mew. No More Stories... tip-toes along that borderline that separates something from being simply “music,” into what I consider an “experience.” While I expect the masses won’t receive from this album what I have, that's fine with me. Listening to this repetitively has only deepened the soft spot in my heart for Mew. Then again, who knows? Give this a try and you may feel like Mew is the band to fill the top spot among modern pop music.