“Hope & Ruin”



With career that is five albums deep, The Trews have begun to grow comfortable in their own skin. “Hope & Ruin” is a shuffled deck that would seem schizophrenic from any other act. In this round, the band sounds its most Canadian which comes honestly from the production & co-writing influence of The Tragically Hip’s Gord Sinclair. Guitarist/vocalist Colin MacDonald gets to show the world what the Hip might sound like with an articulate and accessible lead vocalist on tracks like “One By One”, “If You Wanna Start Again” and the introspective “Dreaming Man”. Sinclair, meanwhile, gets to show how The Trews sound like with more dynamics and atmosphere.

But first they must mine the familiar in songs like “Stay With Me”, the Dave Rave co-written new single/video “The World, I Know” and the throw-back Celtic ditty “Love Is The Real Thing”. Nothing against these tracks per se but the beacons of light start with “Misery Loves Company” – a blistering speedy power pop manifesto that is only a few beats per minute short of going off the rails while the title track hints at the Trews’ contemporary thermometer by incorporating a timely Arcade Fire gang chant; the brilliant lyrical ode to bands that haven’t lived up to their fans’ expectations called “I’ll Find Someone Who Will” leaps out of the speakers on the back of Jack Syperek (bass) and Sean Dalton (drums);  “People of the Deer” is the lone Trews trademarked rock anthem “hit” as guitarist John-Angus MacDonald gets his Hendrix on.

“Hope & Ruin” marks the juncture by which fans must decide if they yearn for the more obscure club-playing Trews of old or the New Trews - a more mature, commercial entity with sights set on international waters.

Jaimie Vernon