The Trews - Civilianaires - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

The Trews - Civilianaires

by James Weiskittel Rating:6 Release Date:2018-09-14
The Trews - Civilianaires
The Trews - Civilianaires

Having enjoyed sustained success in their native Canada for the better part of a decade, it was The Trews 2014 self-titled release that really cemented the band as a major player in the Canadian music scene. Four years and a lineup change later (longtime drummer Sean Dalton left the fold in 2015), Nova Scotia’s favorite sons are back with Civilianaires, a thirteen song collection of arena-ready rockers that picks things up right where The Trews left off.

From the monstrous backbeat and processed guitars to singer Colin MacDonald’s well-timed refrain of “this is us”, the album-opening “Vintage Love” is just the kind of fist-pumping anthem that serves to remind listeners that The Trews are back and mean business. Chart-ready numbers like “Leave It Alone” and the “The New Us” continue to illustrate the band’s penchant for a hook, while the hand-clap hip-swayer “Time’s Speeding Up” has the ending credits to (fingers crossed) Love Actually 2 written all over it.

But while the first half of Civilianaires feels like one instant classic after another, the well, unfortunately, begins to run dry, as the barrage of mid-tempo numbers like “Bar Star”, “Harder To Love”, and “Up Sweet Baby” really bog down the record’s second act. That being said, Civilianaires is ultimately saved by The Trews impressive ability to deliver one massive chorus after another.

Case in point, the title track, with its genius homage-laden lyrics (“Roxanne, turn on your green light”), along with the acoustic-workout “Amen” and the smile-inducing closer “Jericho” all serve as late-album highlights. Make no mistake, there are no hidden layers or deeper meanings to delve into here. For better or worse, Civilianaires shows all of its cards upon first listen. The band is clearly ‘all in.’

And therein lies the charm with The Trews latest release, as the band’s adherence to hook-driven immediacy stand’s in stark contrast to a modern-rock scene that tends to flirt with being too clever for its own good. While far from perfect, Civilianaires admirably provides an updated take on the classic Canadian AOR formula; it’s the kind of guilty-pleasure territory that’s sure to provide a little something for everyone.

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