Review Summary: A very promising debut from a band which deserves a lot more recognition.1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Sometimes a band just slips under the radar. Despite positive press and critical acclaim it can still be difficult to take off. This is what happened in the first decade of the new millenium to the then named Prego, and while the 2010 onwards incarnation as Union Sound Set are making progress, it’s not what you’d expect from a group clearly talented and accomplished musicians. When one hears the debut album it just further adds to the bemusing situation as to why Union Sound Set aren’t a bigger name in the UK scene.
Union Sound Set take a great deal of influence from their atmospheric rock counterparts with heavy hints of Scots Aereogramme and The Twilight Sad prevalent throughout. The songs often start out slowly and delicately and build to build to grand, orchestral-esque finishes that either of the previous two bands would be proud of, certainly the first track My Current State
and the uplifting Years; Months; Days
. Drenched in tremolo guitar parts, huge drums, touching keys and lead lines, Union Sound Set are certainly capable of providing an atmosphere. Edd Simpson’s vocals too provide a uniquely vulnerable side helps vary the mood of the record, which the defiant instrumentation builds upon to create an uplifting album.
While this formula works wonders at times, the process can become somewhat predictable. Many of the songs are short, three or four minute segments of spacey epic rock and morphed together one could get a little lost when taking in the record as a whole, constantly building to big finishes and then starting all over again. There are a couple of punchier, more straightforward songs, notably The Longest Calm
which swiftly gets to the point and is a welcome change of pace by the time we get to it in the second half. But while this face of the band is still represented, it is dwarfed by the, very good, if repetitive atmospherics.
Although it may be said that the band is writing to a formula, it’s still a bloody good formula. And as standalone songs it would be hard to be deeply critical of any of them. Each of them too could be deemed a standout if you give the album a concentrated listen, but even if you just put it on casually you’ll always take in the closing Waiting Minds
which takes the very best of the album and you finally get the closing crescendo that leaves you at peace. This is a very, very, good band that just needs to push themselves an unreasonably bit further and hopefully they will get the break they already deserve.