It’s not the greatest surprise in the world when a band who blow minds on record are a slight let down when you see them live – it seems to happen too often to be so. It’s much more surprising, and thus disappointing, when you flip that equation around. Supporting Spring King on their UK tour this February, FEWS shook foundations with their post-punk leaning dream pop. Means hits with scarcely a fraction of the same force.
Underwhelmed is the overriding feeling induced by the London-based Swedes’ debut. At its best on ‘If Things Go On Like This’, ‘Zlatan’ – surely an ode to their national footballing hero, and a rare singalong moment – and epic finale ‘Ill’, Means is an admirable exhibition of FEWS’ abilities, if nothing more. Live, ‘Ill’ serves as their most formidable sonic onslaught. It serves as much the same on the album, although the colossal wall of sound that makes it such a spectacle in the flesh doesn’t stand quite so tall.
But at its worst, Means is an irritatingly arduous listen. You’re anticipating, waiting for something to happen, a “Wow” moment – and it never arrives. It wouldn’t be unfair to initially classify opener ‘I.D.’ as merely a prelude to the record proper, but give it four or five tracks and a monotonous pattern begins to emerge. Bottom line: FEWS just don’t go anywhere on Means.
Buy: Fews – Means
Live: Sebright Arms – May 25th