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Stew – People Award winner

Stew
People
by Dave Nowels at 17 November 2019, 2:54 PM

STEW hail from Sweden, and are a vibrantly dynamic power trio deeply rooted in the late 60's and 70's vibes. Their debut album, “People” comes to us via Ripple Music, and hit the streets back on the 11th of October. Quite often when researching a band you find quite a disassociation between a band's influences and their current sound. Not a big deal really, but it's certainly a head scratcher. Fortunately, with STEW's debut, absolutely nothing could be further from the case.

The band lists their influences as, Jimi Hendrix, Free, Deep Purple, Grandfunk Railroad, Buddy Miles, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Spooky Tooth and so on.. Yep. Each and every single one. Pretty refreshing to kind of have an idea of what you're getting going in, and have it live up to the expectation.“People” opens with an “Intro” before launching into the ballsy swagger of “Right On Time”. Asland's vocals are perfectly suited for what the band are trying to achieve, channeling a weird mix of Ian Gillan and Chris Cornell. Over the next pair of tracks, “People” and “Newborn” it becomes apparent that STEW have a plan, a formula if you will, and have no real intention of diverting from it. That's what makes this effective. The foundation is the blues baby, nasty, sweaty and dirty blues with the hint of a knowing wink.

“Endless Journey” and “Play The Fool” center the album, and to no surprise were immediate favorites. As one would expect, guitar is the focal instrument, and Jansson has a firm grasp on his intentions throughout. Never overly flashy, rather brilliantly subtle, his alternating leads and rhythms are exceptional. In addition to perfectly suited vocals, Asland supplies one half of the rhythm section by laying down potent bass lines all while Dahlgren's percussion holds everything together. “Goddess” being a perfect example of this rhythm foundation. Much like the guitar, the other instruments never overpower. Instead, it's as if each member steps in to showcase their talents momentarily, only to enhance the other's performance. It's really well done.

“Afraid Of Getting Nowhere” might be my favorite track overall, with it's slow, seductive buildup and vocal focus, and the guitar lead just smokes. There's really not a bad track to be found anywhere. The album's flow, content and execution is simply exceptional. The closing “Morning Song” adds a perfect, contrast of acoustics, bird songs and reflection. “People” will be a great addition to any fan of Stoner/Hard Rock, particularly those looking for differentiating nuances.


Songwriting : 9
Musicianship : 9
Memorability : 9
Production : 8




 

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Intro
2. Right On Time
3. People
4. Newborn
5. Endless Journey
6. Play the Fool
7. Goddess
8. Afraid of Getting Nowhere
9. Sweet And True
10. Fruits
11. Morning Again
Lineup:
Markus Åsland - Bass/Vocals
Nicklas Dahlgren - Drums
Nicklas Jansson - Guitar
Record Label: Ripple Music
     


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