This debut release from FEWS borrows the structures and experiments of post-punk, but replaces any brooding seriousness with a playful melodic sensibility. Means, on the Play It Again Sam label, is ten tracks of bold, exuberant and psychedelic guitar music made for both dancing and headphone appreciation.
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Well then. These guys once made a pretty great kosmische jam over on the hybrid-happy Speedy Wunderground label -- it was a rock-reverent thrill-ride that I’m certain could have appeared on the soundtrack to a much lighter version of ‘Drive’. This is their first record proper, I believe, and things appear to be different -- not massively, but just as the tone changes between the first and fifth Harry Potter tones, so does it make a difference to your sound if you decide you like post-punk more than krautrock. On ‘Means’, they sound more late-album Interpol than classic-era Can.
No problem: Fews are a playful band who want to push both emotive melodies and those moments that make you go “cor, can’t believe they did that!” -- scoff at technical musical buffs all you want, but being impressed is a feeling. I almost prefer it when Fews left their instrumental work speak for itself, because they’re not writing songs: their autopilot bass lines and rhythmically processed guitar-lines provide motorways to glide along - on “The Zoo”, they suddenly start trying to breathe a song into the thing, with words and all, and it comes out a lil’ wrong.
I still think Fews are great psychedelic hypnotists at heart, no matter how many of their songs sound gloomed up in their post-punk afterlife: “The Queen” has a rotating-door of a riff that and a sturdy, weatherbeaten drumbeat, which the band implement a traced vocal-line onto. “10 Things” has lovely warm and warped guitar that again moves bumpily and intricately, somewhat like a mid-era Strokes song if it was running around in circles. “Keep On Telling Myself” momentarily cuts out of the record’s standard-bearer tempo for an apologetic stoner ballad. In other words, hints of two, maybe three different bands live in this record -- you know they’re savvy, I’d just like to hear them jam like before -- they sound big and impactful when they just keep pacing, but their songs sound comparatively minimal and weightless. Neither bad things to be, mind.
10/10 Simon R Customer review, 22nd June 2016
There's not a lot of bands that come near of a debut as these guys do. Self-described as ‘post-post-punk, motorik noise-pop’, FEWS bring an intriguing flexibility to the table with their debut album 'MEANS', produced by Dan Carey (Bat for lashes). With mesmerising and all-consuming melodic intensity, 'MEANS' is a surprisingly poignant punk creation. 10 tracks - it’s a triumph from start to finish. 'MEANS' seems to enter your veins, leaving in its wake a craving for more and a genuine intellectual curiosity.
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