The Inexplicable Coolness of Mew

Dave DiMartino
·Executive Editor

There is a certain culture and mythology that permeates Yahoo’s Santa Monica studios, a facility that in its time has housed all varieties of random talent—from great band to legends to even The Most Interesting Man InThe World—yet near the very top of the list, for those who’ve worked here over the years, is the singular performance of Danish band Mew.

 It happened maybe nine years ago or so, and scattered people around here still talk about it. Here’s a link that may help. 

In short: Some people here refer to that appearance as “legendary.”

Anyway, Mew are unlike any band you’ve ever seen or heard: Halfway between pop and deeply sophisticated prog, ultra-sophisticated musically, catchy, weird and loaded with enough teen appeal to make them win (by a landslide!) the very competition that put them in front of Yahoo’s cameras all those years ago, they are simply all that is good about popular music.

But they’ve been away for a while. Their last album, their fifth—handily titled 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—came out in 2009, and there hasn’t been much since.

But they are back. The quartet—consisting of Jonas Bjerre (vocals), Bo Madsen (guitar), the once-departed but now returned Johan Wohlert (bass), and Silas Utke Graae Jorgensen (drums)—now offer up the concisely titled +- (literally a plus sign followed by a minus sign, if you’re wondering), certain to thrill databases the world over, and loaded with exactly the same mix of melody, harmony and wow that has made their prior work so distinctly memorable. And it sounds more modern than ever.

So: Imagine our surprise to again encounter Mew in Austin last month at South By Southwest, where the group stopped by our Brazos Hall headquarters, did an Up Close shoot, came backstage to explain all business both old and, er, mew, and yet again charmed us silly.

They are quite an extraordinary band, we’re glad we caught them yet again, and you should be, too.