I am a sucker for real rock and roll bands and that is what The Trews prove to be over and over again. Upon receiving their forth studio album I know that every new album takes a few listens but “Hope and Ruin” got me on the first go through. From the first track “Misery Loves Company” to last track “I Don’t But I Do” this is a real rock album.
After the first play through I was stuck on track 2 “One by One” it has the rock vocals I look for on every Trews album but in a different arrangement then most of their singles. When Colin MacDonald goes into the “If I fall apart…” I knew this was going to be an amazing live song, not to mention the slide solo that follows by John Angus. The MacDonald dynamic has been growing over the years and I feel confidant in saying they are now one of the best writing teams in Canada.
“Stay With Me” has a stadium ready chorus that with the hammering drum work by Sean Dalton sticks with me well after the verse returns. Some of this song could be considered “mainstream” but I would like to make the argument the Trews have achieved mainstream and pull it off well. There is nothing more freeing to a band then realizing they can write whatever they want and expand their style and this song is a great maturing from “House of Ill Fame.” “If You Want To Start Again” is also a great example of what this band has built, a real emotion filled song that is not afraid of being vulnerable and the lyrics pull in the listener.
Now on to the Rock, “The World I Know” this song lends itself to amazing imagery from the first note of the intro. I have heard others saying it has an almost ACDC intro but what ever you want to call the style it is undeniable ominous. Jack Syperek keeps the song together during the verses with his stellar lines and this song has so many dimensions I find myself more and more impressed with every listen. The chorus is so catchy, the guitar intro that is repeated through the song almost creating an alarm tone that just rocks.
Now on to the production and writing, Gord Sinclair thank you for showing us how much of the Tragically Hip was your genius. “Dreaming Man” is an amazing blend between Hip tone and Colin’s style. I could listen to this song over and over again finding the different layers Sinclair has created and now I hope for a Trews Hip tour to start very soon. “I’ll Find Someone Who Will” another amazing collaboration between the Trews and Gordie Johnson, at first when I heard that the Trews were not working with Johnson again I was disappointed but this song brings in the subtle irony I expect from the Trews-Johnson relationship.
“Hope and Ruin” is packed with hits, whether they all get on the radio or not, I know live they will rock and really that’s what I love about this album the best. It is a live music album. I can hear every tune being played live in the MacDonald stage fashion. “Love Is the Real Thing” will be a sing along favorite and that is what is the sign of a well-written song. I urge anyone who likes real rock bands and real rock albums to get this album and turn it up. That is until you have a chance to catch them live.
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