To Spirit Back the Mews is a compilation surveying the Asthmatic Kitty roster, as well as related projects. Thirty-seven tracks and a budget price are incentives for any fan of skewed indie pop, which is probably the most apt description of this material. Roman Bolks' "Rebirth in Three Crude Parts" is acoustic psych pop linked to freaky loudspeaker loops; he also gets credit for the set's best song title, "My Father Fits Like a Dirty Shirt." "Guitar Guitar" is a pretty, Jolie Holland-esque number from Liz Janes, and Half-Handed Cloud appear every now and then with their brand of kooky bedroom electronica, which sounds dipped in Crunch Berries. Asthmatic Kitty is the sometime home of Sufjan Stevens, so there's material from him as well as his friends. These include former Marzuki bandmates Shannon Stephens ("More to Speak of") and Matthew Haseltine, whose "Christian Boltanski Takes Down His Christmas Tree" is a twittering acoustic instrumental indebted to avant folk. Overall it's a pretty solid comp, especially given the price. Fans of Asthmatic or its fellow travelers should find plenty to dig on here.
To Spirit Back the Mews: An Asthmatic Kitty Compil Review
by Johnny Loftus