Outside the ICA the streets of London remain palpably nervy, but inside Mew are wrapping us in a warm blanket of wide-eyed angel pop and broken-English sincerity. The two years since acclaimed debut 'Frengers' have passed without major movements in the wintry world of Mew. They remain sweetly enigmatic, all blissed-out walls of sound and sly nods to bands whose talent it was to mangle sheer noise into something majestic. They still look about 14 trying to be 21, an abundance of facial hair and piercing Scandinavian eyes. And thatâ€™s before we get to the slightly unsettling visuals â€“ cats playing trumpets, scenes of picture postcard Victoriana gone a bit wrong â€“ all hallmarks of their early live forays from Denmark.
But then thereâ€™s always been something a little sinister in the undertow of beautifully crafted if grammatically fallible songs like â€˜Am I Wry? Noâ€™. Tonightâ€™s opener â€˜Circuitry Of The Wolfâ€™ at least signposts a heavier sound to new album â€˜Mew And The Glass Handed Kitesâ€™ (dull titles are not an option in Denmark it would seem). Churning somewhere around a Siamese Dream-era Pumpkins, it nestles nicely with the likes of live favourite â€˜She Came Home For Christmasâ€™, which is something akin to a gentle ruffle of your hair, like Coldplay if theyâ€™d grown up in the tundra. We can even excuse them their Eurovision over-enthusiasm - â€˜We love you Londonâ€™ â€“ when they write songs as sublime as the slacker shimmer of â€˜Why Are You Looking Grave?â€™, replete with obvious hero J Mascis on backing vocals via another of Mewâ€™s curio short films.
They might not tear the place apart with the sort of bulging eyed anger London bands seem to be perfecting, but tonight of all nights, thatâ€™s not whatâ€™s needed. Instead the closing â€˜Comforting Soundsâ€™ is like Calpol for commuters, swirling with Sigur Ros-style staring-into-the-mid-distance otherworldliness. Weâ€™ve even forgotten that weâ€™re going to have to wait two hours for a tube home.