Fews – Into Red (2019)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 39:53 minutes | 470 MB | Genre: Indie Rock, Post-Punk, Shoegaze
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Play It Again Sam
After their initial eight-minute sonic rollercoaster ILL on Dan Carey’s Speedy Wunderground imprint and their subsequent debut album Means, FEWS return with a brand new ten-track studio album, Into Red. Following extensive touring throughout 2016-17, including two tour runs as special guests of Pixies, the Anglo-American-Swedish quartet retired to Malmö with the Swedish city’s underbelly providing the perfect environment for unfettered artistic endeavours and the subsequent album recording. Co-produced by Joakim Lindberg (Hater) and mixed by James Dring ‘Into Red’ sees FEWS extricating their influences to reveal a band assuredly moving on from the template of their debut album Means with a confident post-punk swagger and no little addition of muscular heft on the song-writing front.
Dark and textural rock outfit Fews emerged from scattered origins with a bold 2016 debut entitled Means. Working mostly out of London, the band had roots in separate Swedish towns and grew from an online friendship between Malmo musician Fred Rundqvis and David Alexander, who moved from San Francisco to Sweden to start Fews with Rundqvis in 2013. Second album Into Red expands on the tension-heavy tones of Means, retaining some of that album’s repetitive rhythmic churn while branching out into more dynamic songwriting and exploring shoegazey guitar tones and angular approaches to songwriting. Lead single “Paradiso” highlights some of these shifts in the band’s style. The terse and moody song finds partially spoken vocals bending around verses before exploding into enormous choruses. The song nods to both the uneasy vocal delivery and eerie songcraft of the Pixies as well as the walls of guitar noise implemented by less championed shoegaze acts like Loop or the Telescopes. Angst is the primary emotion on much of Into Red, from the dissociating narration of early-Radiohead-esque album opener “Quiet” to the grinding, bass-driven “Business Man.” Fews walk a thin line between dissonance and pop throughout Into Red, always tempering their knotty post-punk impulses with moments of soaring harmony. One of the strengths of the album is how it moves between claustrophobia and clarity, gracefully switching gears from cluttered, repetitive blasters like “Anything Else” to more spare (if dour) tunes like “Suppose” or dreary album standout “97.” Into Red feels distant but still sees the band reaching for more emotionally connective expressions. Fews grow as a band on this effort by putting their struggle to balance sonic upheaval and messy, ungrounded feelings in the center of every track. The album feels lost in the best possible way, coating pensive songs with a sheen of cool remove, but not so cool as to obscure the vulnerable moments coexisting with the noise. ~ Fred Thomas
03. More Than Ever
06. Business Man
08. Anything Else