Mew | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Mew 

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A new album from this Danish quartet, now based in London, is always a real occasion. Their fourth full-length, And the Glass Handed Kites (released in the States by Columbia), further perfects the rarefied pop of 2003's Frengers: the music is icy and prismatic, like crystals growing in a time-lapse film. It's hard to say just what differentiates Mew from groups like Radiohead and Sigur Ros, which shoot for similar effects by similar means. (Singer Jonas Bjerre has that same sort of glassy, otherworldly voice.) The word I keep coming back to is refinement: Mew coaxes its songs into sublime symphonic realms without self-conscious artsiness or cheap signifiers like string sections, and there's never the telltale whiff of experimentation for its own sake. It probably helps that the production on Glass Handed Kites is interstellar: it sounds like it cost $30 billion to record. The densely articulated studio sheen was what hooked me first, but the entrancing vocal harmonies would've wormed their way into my brain even without it--in the age of the earbud single, Mew makes headphone albums. Kasabian headlines and One Thousand Pictures opens. a 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $15. A

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