But what distinguishes Mew is the challenging music showcased on their new album, And the Glass Handed Kites. Look beyond its time-signature changes and arty-sounding song titles - "The Seething Rain Weeps For You" - and you might agree with guitarist Bo Madsen's view that Mew are a pioneering pop act. "It's a rocky ride and the tempo is high, but melody is king," he says.
"There was a review of one of our gigs where the journalist said that our lack of skill with the English language was apparent in the syntax of our lyrics," he says. "I deliberately make my syntax unusual. I like to use lots of symbolism and imagery, and I admire writers like Samuel Beckett, who allow for their readers' own intelligence.
"A lot of the ideas in the songs come from my dreams. I suffer from sleep paralysis, where you can't move your limbs even though you are awake. It's a horrible feeling, but that period can be very creative; it's pure consciousness."
Mew met at school in Hellerup, north Copenhagen. After a short, unsuccessful foray as Orange Dog, they reformed as Mew in their late teens. By then, one of them was working at a film production company, equipping him with the skills tomake the dazzling animations that form the backdrop to Mew's shows.
Mew perform at 93 Feet East, Brick Lane, London E1 (020-7247 3293) on 27 October; 'And the Glass Handed Kites' is out on Sony BMG
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