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FEWS - Into Red (Album Review)

Tuesday, 05 March 2019 Written by Graeme Marsh

When multinational psych outfit FEWS released their debut,‘Means’, in 2016, it was evident where the band’s inspirations lay. Just about everything—including the kitchen sink—was thrown into its motorik, krautrock beats, probing their core sound as though they were squeezing every last drop of juice from an orange.

What gave ‘Means’ an additional push, though, was its producer. Dan Carey had moulded and re-moulded similar work from Brighton’s TOY in as many ways as he could, nudging them towards the forefront of British psych-rock in the process.

But he’s absent on ‘Into Red’, with FEWS turning instead to friend of the band Joakim Lindberg. It’s a brave move, but it explains how they’ve been able to make an album with “no restrictions or limits”, per the words of guitarist Fred Rundqvis.

Quiet makes for a great start as swirling, phaser-like keys meld with fuzzy guitars for a spacey cut that sounds like Tim Burgess guesting on an early Dandy Warhols track.

The excellent single Paradiso also echoes the Dandys, along with the Warlocks, thanks to a monotone chorus, so much so that it could have been lifted directly from their 1997 album ‘Come Down’.

The empty lead-in and verses of the coincidentally named 97 instead tap into the post-punk flourishes and icy guitars of their debut, also recalling the work of Leaves on this occasion. The motorik beats are less evident here, probably as a result of the production change, but they still pop up on the apocalyptically propulsive Limits.

Anything Else is also driven in a similar fashion, before the band turn on Bloc Party-like guitars for its finale. The bouncy, bass-driven drum-fest Over also nods to Kele Okereke’s style of guitar playing, as does More Than Ever. Here, though, the lyrics feel squashed and manipulated in order to fit.

Suppose is possibly the most commercially-minded track here as the fuzz takes a step back on a poppier cut, while closing instrumental Fiction paints a bleak picture of seemingly inevitable helplessness—an insight into the very near future that Brexit, increasing worldwide tensions, and the potential collapse of the oil industry and monetary system, could bring.

‘Into Red’ is an enjoyable collection that occasionally excels. It’s not up to the standard of ‘Means’, and there are no deal-clinching, hypnotic eight-minute jams like the excellent Ill, but this smacks of Carey’s absence more than a drop in quality. Free rein can be a good thing, but sometimes it takes a different perspective to give a collection the push and twist it needs to truly shine.

Fews Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue March 26 2019 - BRIGHTON Green Door Store
Wed March 27 2019 - LONDON Lexington
Thu March 28 2019 - MANCHESTER Gulliver's

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