FEWS reinvigorates themselves after a difficult shakeup with their latest EP DOG. After a dispute with their former label and losing a founding member, their follow up to the critically acclaimed sophomore album Into Red is a short one, yet it packs a strong punch. Jacob Olsen joins the band as the remaining members Fred Rundqvist (vocals/guitar), Rasmus Andersson (drums) and Jay Clifton (bass) guide themselves back into the songwriting groove while at the same time managing and releasing it in their own new label, Hello Dog.
DOG feels more like a restart for the band, as it heavily mirrors the feeling of their debut LP Means instead of the preceding Into Red. Songs are short and straight to the point, characterized by post-punk and krautrock elements with plenty of shoegaze textures. It’s lyrics place mental issues and struggles front and center, a poignant sentiment especially considering their past struggles and the large uncertainty looming over us during the lockdown period.
Opening single “Charm” feels tense and hectic in its urgency. Rundqvist sings about how he’s “slipping in bit by bit”, clamoring for a steady grip on his situation and musing that “A clean slate is all I dream about.” All of these hounded by clamoring riffs and hazy textures, with voices howling in the backdrop. These themes appear again in “Heaven”, which makes use of roaring shoegaze noise under a grinding motorik beat. The song emphasizes the emptiness and loneliness that envelop our daily lives. “Cause heaven is for lonely people / lonely lonely” Rundqvist sings matter-of-factly as the pounding noise repeats.
These emotions escalate further into “Ruler” with the opening: “it’s been a while since we died / I think about it all the time / morning is done and death is there by my window.” The melody and words blend with the hypnotic krautrock rhythm, suggesting a journey that persists with no end in sight – evoking the apathy of living on autopilot. It’s amazing how FEWS has infused the song with strong emotions using simple elements, from the steady driving beat to the ever-present shoegaze bombardment, it all comes together seamlessly. “Shake the Ear” closes the EP in a whirlwind of noise that heralds the coming of a cataclysmic event – one that could very well be here already.
DOG EP proves that FEWS are still in good shape despite the hardships and shake ups they went through. On top of that they’ve fueled those experiences in a tightly packed collection of punk rock that shows a promising future for the group.