When I was first introduced to Rogue Wave, I got really, really excited about them after hearing the first two tracks from Descended Like Vultures, Bird on a Wire and Publish My Love. I mean like, really, ridiculously excited. And then as the album went forward, I kind of lost concentration. But in those first few minutes I told myself I was going to get everything I could by Rogue Wave, and I did.
And was terribly disappointed. “It’s all mediocre acoustic?” I thought to myself, and haven’t really listened much since. Bird on a Wire and Publish My Love have something to them though, don’t they? Nevermind that the latter was featured on an OC soundtrack or something; it’s really got punch, and I’ve been looking for a replacement for a long time.
In my last post, I mentioned (albeit briefly) Mew, in reference to what they have in common with Jeremy Enigk. This was before I bought Mew’s entire discography and discovered they’ve been around since fucking 1997. I have been pretty much listening to them nonstop, and it was only a couple days ago when I realized why: Mew embodies everything I wanted Rogue Wave to be, and then some. There’s this energy, this sound that just kills me. It’s ridiculously unpredictable and entirely enthralling.
Here’s the thing though: comparing them to Rogue Wave and Jeremy Enigk actually doesn’t really do them much justice, because that’s just a surface comparison. There’s an undercurrent of something that I can’t quite put my finger on flowing through everything that gives Mew an urgency and an ethos that’s elusive and exciting. Let’s put it this way: I needed this band to come along right now, and the fact that I stumbled upon them right at this moment makes me ridiculously happy.
And besides the references to other bands above, I’ve just realized that I haven’t even talked about what they sound like. This is difficult because there are so many different things going on in each song. There’s tremendous song-writing talent in Mew and their songs do not stand still long enough to be easily dissected, categorized and defined. The words flowing through my head right now are: wide, gentle, subtle, twirly, driving, open.
Imagine taking everything Rogue Wave, Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate and Deathcab for Cutie could be but don’t have the balls to be, and rolling them all up into one.
Update: Pitchfork does a better job of explaining Mew than I ever could. Also, I remembered something I wanted to mention when I first wrote this: if you were ever a reader of The Letters of Gary Benchley, Rock Star, Mew essentially sound what ostensibly Schizopolis was supposed to be, only Mew uses guitar.