Having solidly established themselves in Canada with two Gold albums, six Top 10 singles (including two #1â€™s at Rock radio) and multiple videos in Heavy rotation (including the current one), THE TREWS are ready to launch their new album, No Time For Later .
The bands first single, â€œHold Me In Your Armsâ€ has been climbing at Rock Radio and is now crossing to Modern Rock. Since the release of their 2003 debut, House of Ill Fame, THE TREWS have become one of Canadaâ€™s most recognized bands.
â€œFor the past five years, weâ€™ve enjoyed the success that weâ€™ve earned in Canada. Not only have we learned a lot about the business but weâ€™ve also matured both personally and musically. I think No Time For Later reflects this,â€ said vocalist Colin MacDonald.
No Time For Later was recorded with producers Gus Van Go and Werner F.
(Priestess, The Stills)
THE TREWSâ€™ technical proficiency and raw devotion are not limited to their recordings. Heralded as â€œOne of the hottest live bands in Canadaâ€, THE TREWS are no strangers to the stage, having performed with such superstar performers as Guns Nâ€™ Roses, Nickelback, Robert Plant, Status Quo and The Rolling Stones.
â€œPerforming 500 plus shows over the past three and a half years has made us a pretty tight and connected group,â€ said guitarist and vocalist John-Angus
MacDonald. â€œPlaying that many shows is hard work but it pays off, weâ€™ve emerged as a stronger band, both as friends and musicians.â€
You can hear it in the first four bars of the album. A meaty, beaty, big and bouncy drum fill, followed by a glistening guitar line that could have been ripped from an old Rockpile album, and a breathy Hammond B3 so beautifully captured that it seems to conjure the dimensions of the room it sits in. Itâ€™s huge, but intimate. Heavy, but airborne. And the hook is strong enough that you could hang a whale from it.
â€œIn the end, we made sort of a two sided record,â€ says Trews guitarist John Angus MacDonald, of the bandâ€™s third album, No Time for Later. â€œItâ€™s some of the heaviest stuff weâ€™ve done, but itâ€™s also some of the most out there artistically that weâ€™ve ever laid down.â€
Too true. The Trewsâ€™ reputation is built on buffed and visceral rock songs, but on No Time for Later they cohere like never before. The structures are more compelling, the playing is more articulate, and the results more nourishing. If itâ€™s the shrewd marriage of new and classic rock that accounts for the Trewsâ€™ remarkable multi-generational appeal â€“ meaning theyâ€™re as welcome on MuchMusic as they are inside the pages of the UKâ€™s Classic Rock magazine â€“ then No Time for Later finds the band expanding at both ends of the spectrum.
â€œOceanâ€™s Endâ€ clads Jack Syperekâ€™s willowy bassline in AC/DCâ€™s crunch, and then breaks down into phosphene psychedelia. In the snakey single, â€œHold Me in Your Armsâ€, the Trews use a buzzsaw to mediate between the re-tooled 21st Century radio rock of Velvet Revolver, and the righteous groove of off-road, resin-stained headbangers like Fu Manchu. Similarly, â€œBurning Wheelsâ€ is a Tom Petty riff given a nitro injection and mag wheels. And that unhinged solo about half way through? â€œThatâ€™s Colinâ€™s only solo,â€ confides John Angus with a chuckle, referring to his brother, vocalist-guitarist Colin MacDonald. â€œHe wanted to do a solo, so we said, â€˜Okay, fine,â€™ and thatâ€™s what came out. Itâ€™s like Kurt Cobain or something. Itâ€™s just, like, unbridled fucking craziness. Itâ€™s totally animal.â€
Continues John Angus, â€œBut you need places to go. So much as youâ€™d like to keep a somewhat consistent sound, if you want to keep making records that are at all interesting or fun to listen to, you gotta go places.â€
So where did the Trews go? According to Colin, â€œWe were always big fans of CCR and REM and stuff, and those influences had to come out sooner or later. At one point we wanted to take everything off the record that sounded remotely heavy. We wanted to make a total roots rock album.â€
They didnâ€™t of course â€“ thereâ€™s no â€œunbridled fuckinâ€™ crazinessâ€ on Murmur or Willy and the Poor Boys - but No Time for Later is elevated by a softer touch on tracks like the Fogerty-rooted â€œI Feel the Rainâ€, or the inspired â€œWill You Wash Awayâ€, where melancholy meets uplift in a chorus that seems to enter the song sideways. If anything on the album points to their growth, itâ€™s this song. Colin canâ€™t say where it came from. Maybe he did what Neil Young claims to do, and channeled it.
â€œI can only hope,â€ he says. â€œI just donâ€™t know, because Iâ€™ve spent a lot of time working my ass off on songs that ended up being shitty, and this one literally came out really, really quickly. Me and John Angus were sitting around listening to Cat Stevenâ€™s Tea for the Tillerman, and we started jamming on this tune, and it literally came in five minutes. Honestly, thatâ€™s the most unconscious song Iâ€™ve ever ever come up with. It literally just came out.â€
Colin name checks Randy Newman as another abiding influence, which accounts for the sly sense of irony that pervades No Time for Later. â€œI Canâ€™t Stop Laughingâ€ addresses grief with a manic Celtic romp, propelled by Sean Daltonâ€™s mighty tom workout; the furious â€œGun Controlâ€ begins with a placid slide-guitar straight out of Ry Cooderâ€™s Paris, Texas soundtrack; â€œParanoid Freakâ€ uses a skittery piano figure to capture the prevailing mood of our time, derived from all the hours the band has endured cooling its boots at US boarder crossings. And in the extraordinary â€œMan of Two Mindsâ€, the Trews have produced a hymn to the worst corners of male psychology, dressed up in a romantic waltz-time melody worthy of Burt Bacharach.
â€œA scumbag song,â€ claims Colin.
â€œI thought it was hilarious,â€ adds John Angus. â€œItâ€™s so blatant, (but) itâ€™s honest. Thatâ€™s the key.â€
In total, No Time for Later represents a major graduation for the band, right down to the Ralph Steadman-by-way-of-Warhol cover art designed by Syperek. Incredibly, it was the counter-intuitive approach of producers Gus Van Go and Werner F that the Trews credit for the breakthrough. The first thing the team did was take one of the best live rock acts on the planet, break it down to its constituent parts, and â€“ starting with drummer Dalton -record each member separately in a painstaking exercise that Colin only half-jokingly describes as â€œour Rumours.â€
Syperek admits to being out of his comfort zone. â€œTo tell you the truth, I wanted everybody in my headphones while I was playing,â€ he says. â€œI thought I would get more feeling. But as we got into it, it allowed me to listen to my parts and make them better, and go back, and improve things.â€ The bassist is one of the best feel musicians out there, but heâ€™s convinced by the results. â€œThis is the next step,â€ he concludes.
Colin adds, â€œWe wanted to go with younger guys who had a bit more to prove. And they were as hungry as we are. Guys who were willing to stay up for twenty-four hours to make sure a certain song didnâ€™t come off cheesy.â€
â€œI donâ€™t think weâ€™ve ever been worked so hard by producers,â€ continues John Angus, who was looking for â€œa general vibe that we havenâ€™t quite nailed in the studio yet. It was kind of like the first time we worked with Gordie (Johnson), where everything was new and a challenge. The only difference is back then we kinda sucked.â€
His modesty aside, John Angus can rest assured that their efforts have yielded the most fully formed work of the bandâ€™s already impressive career. All that remains is the listening. And this bio, of course; custom-designed to make you hear the record.
â€œBios are usually so embarrassingly flattering of the band,â€ snorts John Angus. â€œThis band fucking GETS RAWK! Then you listen to it, and youâ€™re like, whaâ€¦?â€
Readers should be advised that in this case, the praise couldnâ€™t be any more sincere.