Mew at Venue in Vancouver, December 11

Oh, Mew. How your avantshoegazesunshineartrock fills my heart and warms me like a really natty old sweater over an ironic rock t-shirt.

But let’s talk about the Raveonnettes.

I missed them when they came to play in Vancouver last month. And as a half-Dane, with Viking blood coursing through me like a combo of 7.2% Tuborg Elephant beer and remoulade, I kinda feel obligated to raise the flag for the mother country when a band from this tiny Scandinavian enclave comes through town. (Remind me to tell you my story of meeting hot Lene from Aqua later). Thing is, I’ve seen the Raveonettes b efore. And as sexy as Sharin Foo is (and that she is), I kinda preferred their repetitive three-chord Jesus and Mary Surf Punk to whatever melodies they’re doing now. Meh.

So when lille Danmark’s indie kings Mew came town, it was time to haul ass.

Worth. It.

Mew live in this little precocious corner of the musical universe that is also populated by Ride circa 1991 and M83 (playing as if they’re circa ’84): layers, synths, fuzz, fiddly bits, crashing drums and shoegaze bump up against singer Jonas Bjerre’s soaring vocals and kooky lyrics. Some will claim that Mew’s debut Frengers is THE disc of the NuGaze (guffaw) movement – and indeed ’tis a happy, bonkers little platter. During this show, “Am I Wry? No”, “156” and the gig’s ender – Frengers‘ beginner – “Louise Louisa”, sounded sublime and evoked a happy singalong from the predominately boy crowd.

I mean, who doesn’t love a band of cute Danish men? But anyway.

Mew4Nevermind that Jonas was doing his best head-pointed-down-doe-eyes-looking-up shy routine all night, in between coyly grabbing at his own sleeve cuffs like a snot-nosed kid who’s about to wipe his face on his shirt. Irregardless, combining big pillow lips with the saucer eyes against the backdrop of mad animations is JUST enough to remind you that yeah, you should probably book your ticket to Copenhagen again soon.

But while most in the audience would have been content with all Frengers, all the time, it was the jolly depressing (yep, it really is possible to have an album that is both jolly and depressing) latest disc No More Stories Are Told Today that got the biggest airing. (Though “Special” and “The Zookeeper’s Boy” from And the Glass Handed Kites made an appearance.)

“Introducing Palace Players” starts off tonight, with a whomping bass and clunky groove, while “Hawaii” came with drum, cowbell dings and backdrop screen of a miserable children’s choir – the holy trinity of indie rock precociousness – before descending into wooshyness. “Sometimes Life Isn’t Easy” was messy but flew with Jonas’ falsetto up to the rafters. “Beach” and “Repeater Beater” brought the sing-songs and sunshine, while “Reprise” wound things down before the mostly Kites pack of “Apocalypse”, “Saviours of the Jazz Ballet (Fear Me, December)” and aforementioned final, the pretty “Louise Louisa”.

Through it all, the doe-eyed Dane didn’t do much of anything but sing and stare shyly into space. Which is fine. His voice is lovely and Mew’s music is busy enough.

And did we mention they’re from Denmark?

Skål. \m/

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