Album of the week: FEWS – Into Red

FEWS - Into Red album cover

The second album from Swedish/US post-punk group FEWS sees the band building on the unique sound developed on debut album Means.

What we have with Into Red is a more mature sound, greater use of atmosphere, heavier guitars and a sometimes slower pace. This is epitomised on opening track Quiet, which is anything but. It incorporates elements of shoegaze, isn’t afraid to hold the pace up where necessary, and sheds the sometimes jangly guitars of the last album for something much beefier.

Paradiso continues this trend, while still being unmistakably FEWS. The vocals have more of a drawl to them and the effect-laden guitars in the chorus section are something to behold.

There are some hark-backs to earlier days. More Than Ever is a classic up-tempo indie rock number that, while not hugely original in design, is brilliantly executed. Anything Else recalls Ill from their debut album, before taking us off in a slightly different direction with some stupendous guitar bursts. Over provides us with a proper post-punk opening, a high tempo and a fabulous chorus.

Elsewhere there are new delights to entertain us. Business Man is driven along by piano and bass until distorted synths kick in as the guitars keep building on each other. 97 provides us with a desolate opening using a single echoing guitar and soft vocal before the guitars break over you. It contains quite a discordant riff that at first sounds off, but eventually falls perfectly into place.

There’s even the addition of a little bit of 80s synth on Limits, though this is kept to a minimum across the album.

A highly impressive sophomore for this band, which I would advise anyone with a soft spot for loud guitars to listen to. You won’t regret it.

Release date: 01 March 2019

Rating: 9/10

Standout track: Quiet

For fans of:

  • Shame
  • Moaning
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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2018 Music Review – February

February was a reasonably quiet month in terms of ear-grabbing releases, but there were still a few stand out moments to be had.

Take for instance the electronica-laced jazz musings of Manchester trio GoGo Penguin on A Humdrum Star. I’ve never really been one to listen to Jazz, and still can’t really stand the more trad stuff, but when fused with something that can provide a real soul, like this album does, it takes it to another level.

Elsewhere there’s the desolate, haunting beauty of Efrim Manuel Menuck on Pissing Stars. Like Thom Yorke when he’s feeling particularly depressed. Not really selling that am I, but it’s worth a listen.

If you fancy a bit of Nine Inch Nails crossed with the Sisters of Mercy then Criminal by The Soft Moon might be for you. Or if you prefer a some light-hearted punk then The Lovely Eggs may brighten your day.

However it was the bands keeping the indie/alt rock flame alive that did it for me in Feb. In particular Sub Pop’s Moaning brightened my day with its warmly familiar distorted guitar hooks, while South London’s Phobophobes pulled it out of the bag with some terrific psyche-indie fronted by Nick Cave sound-a-like Jamie Taylor.

Top 10 February 2018

1: Phobophobes – Minature World

Standout track: Where is my owner?

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2: Moaning – Moaning

Standout track: Artificial

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3: Hookworms – Microshift

Standout track: Negative Scanner

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4: Fever Ray – Plunge

Standout track: To the Moon and Back

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5: The Soft Moon – Criminal

Standout track: Like a Father

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6: The Lovely Eggs – This is Eggland

Standout track: Wiggy Giggy

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7: GoGo Penguin – A Humdrum Star

Standout track: Bardo

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8: Efrim Manuel Menuck – Pissing Stars

Standout track: The State and Its Love and Genocide

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9: Turnstile – Time and Space

Standout track: Real Thing

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10: Loma – Loma

Standout track: Black Willow

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