On Hope & Ruin, their fourth studio album and fifth album overall, the Trews, a Canadian quartet, continue to purvey mainstream rock music. Their beats are steady, their guitars chime and clang, and lead vocalist Colin MacDonald sings of romantic misadventure in a throaty, phlegmatic tenor. In the Trews' case, "mainstream rock" means something akin to the radio format called "classic rock," except, of course, that the Trews are a 21st century group and classic rock connotes music of the '70s. But that's what they sound like. Taking the Canadian tag, it's possible to hear the Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive in their music, along with such classic rock standard bearers as Creedence Clearwater Revival (particularly in the song "I'll Find Someone Who Will") and Bob Seger. It may be that, traveling in Canada rather than in American media centers, the Trews are able to encounter fans of artists like that and satisfy them. Hope & Ruin builds like a concert set to the 11th track, "Burned," as MacDonald repeats the words "something like that" over and over, and a high-pitched lead guitar line that might be played by the ghost of Duane Allman pierces the arrangement. Then, the acoustic "You Gotta Let Me In" serves as the decompressing encore. At a real show, they might be expected to follow with a cover, and a good choice would be BTO's "Takin' Care of Business."
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann