You’d think a celebrated veteran band like The Trews — with countless radio hits, ecstatic fans from Dublin to Des Moines plus multiple EPs, a pair of live albums and a retrospective — would regard studio album number six as a cinch. After all, it’s their career equivalent to Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti or REM’s Green; the apex of decades-long musical ingenuity arriving at a juncture where there is nothing left to prove. Yet you’d be dead wrong.
In what can only be described as a rage against stasis, The Trews approached Civilianaires, their electrifying and wildly original follow-up to 2014’s The Trews, the way a contractor tackles a kitchen reno: tearing things down to the studs, then building out piece by new piece. “We’re almost in existential-crisis-mode if we don’t have new songs we’re excited about”, guitarist/songwriter John-Angus MacDonald says. “With us it’s always what’s next? We’re most galvanized while we’re creating. And this new album is a completely fresh take on what we’ve done before.” Which is not to suggest Trews fans will be bewildered by the towering and multifaceted songs on Civilianaires. Dazzled is more like it the band hopes.
Catch The Trews late January at Ok Corral with guests Altameda.