Thursday, May 12, 2016

Album Review :: FEWS - Means



May 20 2016 (Play It Again Sam)


Words: Alison Mack

This debut album from Swedish/American combo FEWS pummels a sonic punch of propulsive post-punk noise-pop that was enough for producer Dan Carey (Bat For Lashes, Sexwitch, TOY) on first hearing to invite the band to record their debut single ‘Ill’ - which also appears here: all eight minutes of throbbing bass and wall-of-noise sonics - at London studio and which then emerged on his Speedy Wunderground label.

While dark, brooding elements are at work on this ten-track, full-length (which again sees Carey sitting in the producer's seat), it is infused with lighter melodic structures that at times are exuberant, at others treading into psychedelic waters.

Single cuts like ‘The Zoo’ with its hypnotic two-note guitar groove and brooding vocals of the Fred, FEWS' American frontman, and the recent ‘100 Goosebumps’, a sub-three minute beast of Swedish David's pulsating guitar and shape-shifting drum patterns of sticksman Rasmus forming a metronomic backbeat, has seen the band draw comparisons to the likes of DIIV, The Walkmen and Faust.

'10 Things', could easily be partnered with 'Drinking Games', offering a zippy vibe with chant-like vocals, driving guitar and singalong notes that even if you don't exactly know the words, after several rounds in pub you may well think you know them. Both tracks are of a lighter ambience than the majority here. 'If Things Go On Like This' flourishes on hypnotic guitar lines and even if the lyrics are virtually indistinguishable it matters probably not a jot, as the reverbed vocals pull you along in its dreamy wake. The one failing of this record is that after kicking off on a high on 'I.D' and 'The Zoo', and ending on a high with 'Ill', the pattern remains largely the same throughout. Ten tracks of which there are two standouts, three very goods, and another five that feel rather too familiar to be of interest to listen to on repeat.

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