Spilling over with well-intentioned fulsomeness, 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 is the kind of album whose excesses are instantly summed up by its title, which stumbles beyond garden-variety pretension to a starry-eyed realm of amazingly oblivious blather. Its boring unwieldiness, the idea that this mouthful is somehow challenging, is indicative of the faux-creative baggage Mew’s fifth album brings with it, a bloated, misguided attempt at exploration that limits itself to rooting around in the dustbins of ‘70s arena rock and shiny ‘80s pop.
This confusion of facsimile with inventiveness weighs things down heavily but is tempered by the fact that the album manages to somehow be enjoyable in spite of it. Opener “New Terrain” is blurry and warm, with any qualms about cheesiness clouded by roaring waves of guitar and synth that press in tight on both sides. The rest of the songs follow in this pattern, burying their own inefficiency in a deluge of operatic clamor and earnestly shouted vocals. As a whole, the album is big, loose, and overly dramatic, stuffed with unnecessary interludes and stupid flourishes, which play like so much shiny glitter tossed in the air. Yet when Mew turns up the guitars and drums, leading spirited marches that flicker with assured intensity, it seems callous not to step in line.
Mew hails from Denmark and possesses an apparent allergy to irony, and they are very good at producing bad music. Such idiot-savant charm positions them at that mysterious locus where something inherently crappy can be enjoyed for the skill with which such crappiness is produced. It’s not anywhere near the best example of such a convergence, but it works enough that No More Stories becomes absorbing in its delight at the rehashed spectrum in which it operates. Mew is not as thoughtful or smart as they think they are, but the force of their conviction is inspiring.