There is a lot of new music out there (you may have heard about this). Some sounds like retreads of popular songs and genres past. Other music seems overly experimental, almost as if the musicians were trying to impress with their various concepts. Still other music offers one stand-out track surrounded by drivel. The list goes on. Bottom line: Very few bands offer an unusual, catchy, independent sound that envelopes the audience and leaves them craving more.
The album Frengers by Danish band Mew is one of the few in the last category. First released in 2003, the album was recently re-released in the U.S. when a grassroots movement of fans started clamoring for it.
First a disclaimer: Frengers is not for everyone. To paraphrase what Livingston Taylor once said to me, some people buy one pop album, such as (insert name of your favorite pop album here) and never need anything else. That one album fulfills all of their musical needs.
If you’re one of those people who worships (insert superstar musician’s name here), this is not the release for you. Frengers is for those who are always searching for the next great group and unusual sound. Those people will likely find that sound in Frengers.
The opening track, “Am I Wry? No” kick starts the album with solid pop and a throbbing beat backing up ethereally sung lyrics "Farah now that we're here, can you tell me exactly how I should have done? Farah drives with here eyes closed, do you ever inflict unwanted memories?"
Contrast that with “Symmetry.” While the haunting, ethereal singing from “Am I Wry? No” is repeated on this song, it’s a totally different feel. “Symmetry” is a much slower, gentler song in both melody and lyrics “I'm caught in the symmetry of your mind, But I'm not happier than you. Did I really see you, or was it a dream?" The throbbing beats of “Am I Wry? No” are replaced with a gentle rhythm and softer guitars.
“Her Voice Is Beyond Her Years,” definitely offers stronger vocals than either of the aforementioned songs and offers a feel more reminiscent of rock than Clannad (“Her Voice is Beyond Her Years, She's trying to move you, She did not know where to go and soon it was dark”).
Rarely do you find an album with such consistently strong, haunting melodies and lyrics that evoke emotions through a variety of styles. Frengers offers that, and more. Something that tells us Mew may be popular in the U.S. for a long time.