Stew – ‘People’ (2019)
In 2018, the Swedish band Stew offered up a 4 track EP; an EP that was called Hot, and those songs sizzle and burn brighter than any flame; they moved and grooved perfectly, making me an instant fan of their southern styled, bluesy, hooky, hard rocking sound. October 11th, 2019 saw Stew releasing a full length album via Ripple Music, which they named People.
Much like the recording of Hot, People was recorded entirely live; with the exception of the vocals and guitar solos; recording the entire album in just 9 days. This shows me just how talented these guys are, as it’s fairly difficult to record even one song in that fashion, let alone the entire album.
As you listen to their album you may find yourself thinking of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble; do not be alarmed because so are a lot of others. The track called “Might Be Keeping You” (from their EP called Hot) brought Stevie up in several spots, but it was the bass that really felt like Double Trouble’s Tommy Shannon. There’s still plenty of SRV influences on People, which we’ll start talking about right now.
“Right On Time” hits my ears just the right way, and it’s on time, everytime. Markus Åsland lays down a very smooth bassline lines here; all while supplying some of the best vocals in the genre. A great album opener, and a standard that they set for the rest of the album.
The title track, “People”, shows off the guitar skills of Niklass Jansson. His bluesy, groove filled approach is endlessly appealing, and it’s very obvious that he studied the blues masters while cutting his chops. Markus and drummer Niklass Dahlgren contribute the solid foundation that “People” (the song and the album) relies on. These three guys work together very well!
“Newborn” begins with a gritty guitar tone, a ton of swagger, and the line “The sky is crying, like a newborn child it seemed”; it seems that Stevie Ray even made an influence in the lyrics. A sexy slide guitar part comes up next, and I love it despite its brevity. The rest of the track is very good, especially the guitar solo. In parts of others, track I can hear a Black Crowes vibe, which adds another influence that I really dig.
“every last drop is tasty”
My favorite song is “Endless Journey”, which I find odd because there’s a definite AC/DC influence right off the bat; thankfully that Zeppelin/ Crowes vibe kicked back in shortly afterwards. Another odd influence, just because I don’t usually hear it in other bands, is the presence of David Coverdale/ Whitesnake sound during the verses. All those vibes mix together nicely in this Stew, making for a very cool tune.
Towards the end of the album we find a track called “Fruits”. The intro has a quick tempo, and is led by the bass and drums. I really, really like the beginning of this one, is just what I love hearing. While the rest of the song isn’t bad, it also doesn’t live up to that intro for me. I can hear a Led Zeppelin vibe here and there, some more Black Crowes, and some late 80’s hard rock tones; it’s a cool song overall, just not one of my favourites.
I hope my love of this Stew has been translated as an intense hunger for you, a hunger to taste this Stew for yourselves; every last drop is tasty, and seconds are highly recommended. Bon appetit!!
– Tom Hanno
Stew – ‘People’ (Ripple Music |2019)