Radiohead approved, post-punk band FEWS have abruptly burst onto the music scene in 2016. Earlier in the year they released their debut full length album ‘MEANS’ and since then they have been sending waves throughout the indie music scene.
The band are of Swedish/American origins and are mainly based in London, United Kingdom. FEWS are part of a recent psychedelic movement that is rocking the Swedish music scene. They consist of singer and guitarist Fred, guitarist David, drummer Rusty and Lulu on bass. (The band have chosen to not release their second names). Fred and David met on social media site my-space in 2012 after sharing the same admiration for bands, and by the end of the year, FEWS were born.
The bands style is a combination of old and new. Their are elements of The Cure that swing through each song, splashes of American shoe-gaze, dream pop outfit DIIV and that math rock style of Foals debut album ‘Antidotes’, with Yannis Phillipanakis slashing his guitar at high speed to create an energetic and adrenaline rushing listen. The band are also influenced by the guitar playing of Daniel Kessler of post-punk outfit Interpol.
In 2015, the band released debut single ‘Ill’ and it arrived with great promise. Blisteringly fast guitars played by Fred and David with enticing bass and abstruse vocals combine together to form the 8 minute 18 second explosion of a track. The song is riff heavy, and filled with reverbed and distorted guitars from top to bottom, making it one of their most inflicting songs. The single would go on to feature on their debut album as the last song on the record.
In November 2015, the band released their second single ‘The Zoo’. Like ‘Ill’, the song features the same fast paced guitar playing and riff laden style the band possess. Towards the end of the track, it sort of spins out of control brilliantly with distortion on the guitars which is very reminiscent to that of Foals. When released it was rewarded with attention from BBC 6 music and was immediately put on their monthly playlists.
On March 24th, FEWS announced that they would release their debut album ‘MEANS’ through the Swedish record label, Play It Again Sam, on May 20th 2016. On the same date, the band released a new single ‘100-Goosebumps’ for the lead up of the debut album. The track is just under 3 minutes. It begins as a slow paced guitar riff but when the drums kick in and the bass starts being shredded, the song bursts into life with light speed paced drums, a heavy bass riff and eccentric vocals from Fred.
When ‘MEANS’ was released the band were met with positive reviews, with highly good reviews. The album featured several tracks which have been floating round a fr a while such as ‘The Zoo’ and ‘Ill’ however there is a fresh sound to the band whilst keeping that fast paced and exhilarating sound that the previous singles deliver. The album stretches the band into new areas with the slow paced, yet ear drum splitting sounds throughout ‘Keep on Telling Myself’, and on penultimate track ‘Zlatan’ (exquisitely named after the Swedish footballing God that is Zlatan Ibrahimovic), with Fred chanting ‘He takes me apart, he breaks my heart’ throughout the chorus. The into track ‘I.D’ is a non vocal flurry of crashes and post-punk guitar rifts and is almost a fusion of DIIV and Interpol as the band take their inspirations and make them their own. For me, ‘MEANS’ is quite frankly one of the best records i have heard this year. With its merge of post punk, psychedelic and and shoe-gaze, a fan of any of these genres will fall in love with this record at the first beat.
When I found out the band were to be playing at Green Man I was extatic. I had seen the band support Spring King in February prior to their release of their debut record and was stunned by their live performance. When the band took to the stage, they were met with volcanic applause. The tent was packed. The crowd were pumped up. It was 13:30pm, an early start for a band however they filled the tent to the brim attracting and gaining a lot of attention. FEWS played one of the most blistering and deadly sets of the weekend, it was filled with energy, adrenaline and passion. Lead singer Fred slashing his guitar and playing it up high like an early Yannis Phillipanakis (who he also has a striking resemblance with). After they had finished playing, bassist Lulu, came down to the barrier to thank members of the audience. I spoke with him very briefly and congratulated him and the band on their performance. He said ”That was one or most likely the biggest crowd we have ever played for”. They became the talk of the festival for the rest of the weekend. The people who saw them kept going on about the sensational performance they put on, and quite right. For me, it was the best set of the weekend.
To cap off their bat-sh*t crazy year, the band of recently finished a tour of the UK on their second headline tour, been played on BBC 6 music by Phillip Selway (drummer of Radiohead), who he also said would be seeing them play in Oxford. The band will also be supporting (get this) Pixies on a sold out UK tour, playing in medium sized venues.
FEWS are a band who I feel deserve the success that will follow. They have attracted many new fans across Europe this year after their incredible festival sets and their headline tours. Only success will follow for one of the best bands that have come about this year.