Atmospheric, edgy and often beautiful, Denmark’s Mew has been compared to Sigur Ros, Radiohead and My Bloody Valentine, but the ambient-rock band successfully dodges any sense of derivativeness with “And the Glass Handed Kites,” its first record to be released in the U.S., a muscular, forceful and haunting album full of wailing highs and somber, intimate lows. The darkness is ever-present even from a glance at the record’s artwork, and while some parts of the album are bracing, even difficult, it’s balanced by the moments of insane loveliness that creep in at the most unexpected of times. Exploring a very original sound altogether, Mew is part rock, part glam, part electronic and synth-driven pop. “And the Glass Handed Kites” is staggering and hypnotic, a whole mountain of fear, love and anger. Sometimes they just do it better overseas. (Tom Lynch)
Mew opens for Kasabian September 2 at Metro, 3730 North Clark, (773)549-0203, at 7pm. $15.