Updated: May 4
Stew is A Will Away’s third full album and their first on their current label. The band have always been considered pop-punk but have developed more of a riff-focused, classic rock sound in recent years.
The album starts with "The Rock" which is very much in their older pop-punk style. It’s followed by "Karma" where the guitars and vocals get considerably more epic. The wall of sound created here is great and really makes you want to rock out. "Spittin’ Chiclets" feels much messier like some of the bricks have fallen out of the wall and the band can’t quite catch them. The effects used are interesting but don’t completely mesh together.
"I’ve Got a Five" represents the start of the standard mid-point album slow down. It’s nice to hear the band’s ability to do something a bit gentler with more focus on the vocals than the riffs, but overall it’s a bit forgettable. Both of the next tracks "Parachute" and "Hereditary" continue the slowed down vibe. This is the weakest part of the album for me, but I realise not everyone wants to hear full throttle guitars for 11 songs in a row.
"Re-Up" welcomes us back to a rockier sound. This track has the mix of the emo lyrical elements and the melody just right. "Matchstick" is another track with a touch of the epic and also just a hint of a country vibe which works nicely to mix things up a bit. "Montezuma Blue" is an example of the messy sound working pretty well. Elements that didn’t quite work together earlier on the album magically seem to come together much better here and it all feels right with a great mix of pop, emo and rock. The final two tracks "Speechless" and "Rubbed Out" slow things down again, with the last track having a much floatier sound than I would have expected from this band.
I found the album a bit patchy. I enjoyed the louder tracks but the band’s current preferred style leans much more towards more traditional rock with a bit of an emo flavour. If you liked their EPs Soup and I’ve Got a Five, you’ll like this. It feels very much like a continuation, indeed all five tracks from their last EP are here on this album. When the band rocks out they sound great, but for me the quieter tracks blur together and feel like filler.
Stand out tracks: "Karma", "Montezuma Blue"
Rating - 3/5