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Frengers

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Album Review

Following two critically-acclaimed limited edition studio albums, prog-rock quintet Mew finally allow audiences outside their native Denmark to hear their mesmerising blend of crunching guitars, lush operatic production and Jonas Bjerre's stunning girlish vocals, with their first major label release. Frengers: Not Quite Friends But Not Quite Strangers lifts five tracks from its 2000 predecessor Half The World Is Watching Me and a sole number from 1997 debut A Triumph For Man, and adds four brand new compositions to produce a breathtaking and ambitious epic which echoes the experimental post-rock of Sigur Ros, the ethereal avant-garde pop of Mercury Rev and the emotive bombastics of JJ72, occasionally all at the same time. None more so than on the opening track "Am I Wry? No," which combines haunting choral verses, blistering military rhythms and distorted My Bloody Valentine-esque riffs with a sweetly melodic pop chorus and a sweeping orchestral middle-eight to create the feel of a particularly schizophrenic mini rock-opera. "156" is just as eclectic, opening with some Pink Floyd-inspired trippy atmospherics, before merging into a driving attempt at soft-metal, complete with razor-edged guitar solo, and ending in a flurry of hypnotic robotic chanting, while "Snow Brigade" is a thrilling fusion of eerie space-age synths, frenetically paced beats and intense post-grunge hooks which also finds time to incorporate a clubby house-influenced breakdown into its multi-layered four minutes. Things calm down with the sparse piano-based ballad "Symmetry," an enchanting duet with Becky Jarrett, a delicately-voiced unknown fourteen year old from Georgia, and the jangly shoe-gazing "Behind The Drapes." But their impressive ability to effortlessly blend contrasting sounds re-appears on "Her Voice Is Beyond Her Years," a brooding bass-driven indie number featuring the angelic vocals of Swedish singer-songwriter Stina Nordenstam, "She Spider" which effortlessly shifts from glacial folk to falsetto-led psychedelic rock, and the closing track, "Comforting Sounds," which encapsulates all of the above in one dramatic nine-minute epic. However, the album's highlight is provided by its most conventional moment. "She Came Home For Christmas," whose lilting piano chords and anthemic chorus masks its rather dark and distinctly non-festive lyrical themes, is a gorgeously melancholic ballad which shows that despite their experimental tendencies, the band are no strangers to writing the odd big pop hook too. The meandering and pretentiously-titled "Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed" aside, Frengers is an album of pure beauty whose textured soundscapes and other-worldly vocals has produced a truly rewarding and captivating musical experience. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

MEW Changed My Life

This band is absolutely amazing and Frengers is their Mona Lisa. I can't say enough about this fantastic amalgamation of beautifully layered music and poetic lyrics. I've listened to this album, along with their newest, "And the Glass Handed Kites," for weeks straight and my ears are still making sense of lyrics, catching subtle bass lines and picking out variations in textured guitar riffs. This is one of those bands that has just enough "catchy" to get you interested, yet, upon further listening, has the substance to back it up so that you don't burn right through it in a week or so. For a listener like me, who can easily burn through a great album in a month because it's just too simple, this is your band. If you're still not certain, buy "Am I Wry? No" and "156," give 'em a listen, and then see how you feel. Those, along with "Behind the Drapes," "Eight Flew Over, One Was Destroyed" and "Comforting Sounds" are my favorites. Thank you MEW!

Beautiful.

I feel like a mother who just gave birth to a baby. This album is so precious, flawless, and beautiful to me. I did a bad thing and bought "And the Glass Handed Kites" before "Frengers", though...AtGHK was a masterpiece, don't get me wrong, but Frengers should definently be bought first-hand. It lets you get familiar with Mew and their music, so when you listen to AtGHK, you're open to all of the weird, unique instrumentals and sounds. But even so, I can say with full-honesty, out of an astronomical amount of CD's I own, this one is my absolute favorite. AtGHK was just as mind-blowing, but there's something about Frengers that takes my breath away. Maybe it's how all of the songs just seem to melt into eachother...You start off with the fresh, upbeat "Am I Wry? No" then head into the slightly more solemn "156". Then, after smiling at the cheery sound of "Snow Brigade", you go into a ballad, "Symmetry." That song kind of leaves you with your jaw hanging. It's very slow, but extremely haunting and beautiful. After "Symmetry", "Behind the Drapes" and "Her Voice is Beyond her Years" brings you back into a little more bouncier of a beat. But then, from here on out, its all sheer enchantment. Tracks seven through ten make me shudder with chills and choke back tears. One of the best things about this album is that "Comforting Sounds" is the last track. It's the cherry on top. It finishes off this stupendous album by sweeping you into a euphoria, leaving you wondering what planet your on. Even though AtGHK was great, no album in the world can ever compare to Frengers. Everything about it is perfect, from the lyrics, the sound, even down to the order of the songs. You'd be doing yourself wrong if you buy only one song off of this album, because each and every one of them is breath-taking in their own unique way. You're best off just buying the whole thing.

Do You Know How Lucky You Are?

There are people in this world that will NEVER hear these songs. Can you comprehend that? How fortunate we are to have found this. That Mew exists. That we can hear & appreciate songs like these. There are times in music, where a note or melody can elevate you to the point where you are reminded that your soul is real. It's sad that moments like these are so few and far between, but that's what makes them so special. There is a moment like that on this album. It comes at 2 minutes & 42 seconds into the song "She Came Home For Christmas". Don't cheapen the gift by fast-forwarding to it, you won't be able to feel it like you would by listening to the song as a whole. Cherish the moment you first hear it. You'll never get it back. Be prepared for it. Let it lift you. Do you see? I am truly thankful for this album. I couldn't put 3 stars on any of these songs. They are all 4-5 stars at least. Sometimes I wish they had a 6th-star option for the truly transcendant ones. This is a gift. I hope you can appreciate it.

Biography

Formed: 1994 in Hellerup, Denmark

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The members of space pop innovators Mew first met in the seventh grade in Hellerup, Denmark. Before they could even play instruments, the ambitious youths -- singer Jonas Bjerre, guitarist Bo Madsen, bassist Johan Wohlert, and drummer Silas Graae -- were ready to make music together, although they initially failed as a band called Orange Dog. Madsen briefly spent time in the United States before the guys came back together in their late teens as Mew. Inspired by My Bloody Valentine, the Pixies, Dinosaur...
Full Bio
Frengers, Mew
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