FEWS, Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Saturday, 28 January 2017

Swedish-American four-piece FEWS would have been massive if they’d emerged at the height of the naughties post-punk revival. But those were simpler times, and the place of guitar bands of their ilk is less assured in today’s musical landscape.
 
This was reflected in a Sticky Mike’s crowd consisting predominantly of men of a certain age.
 
Fusing motorik rhythms with icy, high-pitched guitar riffs, the band’s frenetic brand of post-punk was compelling, if occasionally a little textbook – an occupational hazard for perpetrators of the genre, it must be said.
 
Melodic, cyclical guitar riffs were reminiscent of US band Real Estate, while Frederick Rundqvist’s vocals were warm and inviting, somehow conveying fun and anxiety in equal measure.
 
It was a tight and frantic set, casting aside any initial doubts that they were simply descendents of 2000s plodders like White Lies or Editors. Interpreted live, their meticulously formulated songs soared with urgency and measured chaos.
 
Thankfully for FEWS, there was also enough diversity in the mix to keep the audience engaged. The wiry, hirsute quartet climaxed with a glorious krautrock freak-out, leaving those present with a wall of feedback, an empty stage and a tangible sense of unfinished business.
★★★★
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Image: Paul Hudson
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