With the release of debut album, Pyro, almost three years ago (seriously, how did that happen?), Rews have finally unleashed their follow-up, after some impressive touring and a personnel shake-up. Transforming from a two-piece into a trio with a new drummer and the addition of bass, it’s breathed new life into Rews.
Moreover, Warriors shows the progression Rews’ music has undertaken. The indie/pop/alternative gloss which coated their first album, whilst making for an interesting listen, has been sanded back to make for a rawer, punkier and ultimately, rockier sound. The addition of bass guitar has bulked out the sound; it’s fuller and while the first album didn’t need it, this one simply benefits from it. Not only that, the drums are far more aggressive, regularly butting heads with the jagged riffs which also have several extra rows of teeth.
As each track whizzes by, it’s an album which barely takes its foot off the accelerator and by the halfway point, has been relentless in its assault. So much so that “Play Dead” makes you think you’re finally getting a breather. Wrong. They’re only taking it down half a gear as they hammer it out before ramping it back up for the remainder of the album until closing number “Bad Habits” finally lets you have that welcome wind-down. Even then, there’s still a bombastic quality to it, inbetween all the dreamy surf guitar tones.
It’s not a Motörhead album by any stretch but nor are any of its tracks going to wind up on a “chill” playlist whether it’s your own or one curated by your choice of streaming platform. Lyrically, Shauna Tohill tells stories of tenacity and empowerment and instead of wallowing in bad times and surrounding yourself with the wrong people, she instead offers a hand of support to face the challenges head on. “Itch” and “Today We’re Warriors” (where the album borrows its name from) are self-assured hard-hitters, both full of grit yet equally have their own light and airy moments and wouldn’t feel out of place on Reigning Days’ album.
Opening songs “Birdsong” and “Razorblade” are fast and frenetic, the latter dripping with scuzzy moments and some of the heaviest moments of the album – a deliberate statement of intent. However, “Heart is on Fire” has a more dancey feel to it with its anthemic feel, complete with the perfect moments for audiences to scream the lyrics against its furious fretwork. It’s is the closest number to something you’d expect on the first album but still feels right at home here. Meanwhile “Monsters” has a chunky late 90s vibe to it as it’s driven by a monstrous bassline.
Warriors is the perfect follow-up and one that Rews needed. It’s the natural evolution of the band and what makes Rews is still firmly embedded in the music’s DNA. Now though, it’s more intense, more focused and on all fronts, better. Those big drums are still there, that alternative twist to them is still there. It’s more confident and mature with added potency. The sense of urgency only enhances what was already there. Pulling no punches suits Rews well.
Header image by Katie Frost Photography
Warriors is released on 7th August