Album: Hope and Ruin
Is it fair to criticize a band simply because they refuse to deviate from routine? That’s the question I was asking myself as I listened to The Trews’ fourth album Hope and Ruin. In a way, it’s somewhat egotistical to want a band to alter their sound simply because they have already encountered personal success with that particular style (no matter how deceptively simplistic it may seem at times), but it’s important to critique, anyways.
Sonically, there’s no denying that the album sounds exceptional (it was co-produced by Gord Sinclair of The Tragically Hip). Consistently solid vocalization by Colin Macdonald is impeccably balanced with crisp guitars and drums throughout each track.
However, as easy-going and straightforward as it is sound-wise, the album ultimately suffers from a lack of creative diversity that instills that awe-inspiring ‘oomph’. Powered, at times, by a ho-hum predictability, Hope and Ruin’s potential for greatness is unfortunately squandered by its refusal to truly take any chances musically.
But the album’s lack of experimentation is not a total letdown.
The album’s tendency to focus on gentle melancholic melodies that permeate throughout its duration is truly its highlight. Situated amongst the classic rock-infused pop tracks like “Misery Loves Company” and “People of the Deer”, tender ballads such as “One by One”, “Stay with Me” and “If You Wanna Start Again” highlight a sincere sensitivity/fragility that is a welcome addition to The Trews’ overall sound.
In the long run, Hope and Ruin may not be the daring enterprise many may want it to be, but it does strive to entertain. It’s hard to find fault with