United Nations
The Next Four Years


3.8
excellent

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
July 12th, 2014 | 198 replies


Release Date: 07/15/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: More "Full Collapse" than "Document #8".

It's impossible to bring up United Nations without focusing on the names which have been linked to the band in the past. When the punk “supergroup” first took web forums by storm in 2008, all we knew is that it was a loosely affiliated cabal of scene all stars: Thursday's Geoff Rickly, Converge's Ben Koller, and Glassjaw's Daryl Palumbo. None of their names were officially used in the credits, but thanks to Geoff's subtle hints in interviews at the time, we knew. Since then, United Nations became even more elusive. I still can't tell you exactly who played on their EP Never Mind the Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures or their painfully limited, tour-only cassette Illegal UN, but late last year their roster seemed to have finally coalesced into a consistent unit with Rickly being joined by Zach Sewell and Dave Haik of Pianos Become the Teeth fame, Lukas Previn of Acid Tiger, and Jonah Bayer of The Lovekill.

Even despite this ever shifting line up, United Nations has always sounded particularly rooted in their sound and aesthetic. This obviously has as much to do with the fact that United Nations is, and has always been, very much Geoff Rickly's creation. Even the ideas for their stirring debut were originally intended for what would become Thursday's A City By The Light Divided. It's not much of a stretch, really. All one has to do is listen to “At This Velocity” from the aforementioned record to see what lies at the heart of United Nations. The Next Four Years is no different. Where previous United Nations releases saw Rickly's emo-grind vision filtered through the creative lenses of his contemporaries, the line up behind The Next Four Years is just as caught up in the zeitgeist of the current heavy music scene as it is influenced by Rickly's time in Thursday. The result is an instantly familiar record. The album's opening caterwaul pulls heavily from the Deafheaven playbook with its frenetic blast beats and dense tremolo picked guitars, but as “Serious Business” progresses, it falls into a welcome groove built on simple melodic leads and octave chords that is much more Full Collapse than Document #8.

The rest of the record continues in much the same way. While there are moments where United Nations initial emo-violence claim hold true, especially in the rabid Orchid worship of “Fuck The Future", for the most part The Next Four Years is nothing more than what Rickly has been giving us, in one variation or another, for the last 15 years. Luckily, Dave Haik's skill behind the kit helps transform this tried and true template into something beyond just being an ongoing extension of the heavier side of Thursday. His stick work is truly wonderful. All one has to do is listen to the opening cadences of “F#A#$” to see just how much he can transfigure his surroundings from simple post-hardcore fare into massive metal fury with his cascading, well placed blast beats. Haik is the connection that bridges Rickly's current banshee wail with his tested songwriting fallbacks.

Taking it all into consideration, The Next Four Years is at its heart an incredibly dated record. Every idea pulls from an instantly recognizable source, which is mostly Rickly's previous work, but at the same time that is what makes it such a refreshing listen. With “The Wave” movement within post-hardcore fading into stagnation, United Nations are a welcome reminder of the power in its past. It's the same energy that filled basements and all ages spaces for the last 25 years. It's that first connection in finding a sense of community in hardcore, but comfortably outside of the bro-mosh dudecore and mesh short wearing pit warriors that turned it into a still ongoing cliché. Most importantly, it's the earnesty that is currently missing from the scene as a whole. The Next Four Years isn't the best record of the year, but it is the most honest – and sometimes that means so much more.



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user ratings (139)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Diamondize
July 12th 2014


1367 Comments


agreed with everything u said great review

ProjectFreak
July 12th 2014


1438 Comments


that Godspeed! reference



Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2014


31492 Comments


All one has to do is listen to opening cadences of “F#A#$”


Missing a "the" before "opening" there Red

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

ProjectFreak
July 12th 2014


1438 Comments


oh come on, apparently there's another band with this name and it's cheesy 80s'-style arena rock. Spotify you're killing me

Scoot
July 12th 2014


17887 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

sweet album

Digging: Renounced - The Melancholy We Ache

Futures
July 12th 2014


12072 Comments


ugh my boxset needs to come now

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

eternium
July 12th 2014


16338 Comments


Excellent review, sir.

This album rules.

StrizzMatik
July 12th 2014


3220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Love this album. Excellent review too. Rickly is on crack on this record, and Haik especially steals the show. Not quite as great as the self-titled but it combines the best of the EP and LP styles in a lot of ways. And F#A#$ destroysss. This sounds way better with a proper copy too

XingKing
July 12th 2014


10955 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I really don't like this record but solid write up

fromtheinside
July 12th 2014


19029 Comments


awesome. gonna have to jam this soon

Digging: Ibex Throne - Ibex Throne

dimsim3478
July 12th 2014


5327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

alright i'm seriously gonna take down all the lyrics from the lyrics sheets on the pitchfork advance stream and post them to plyrics because goddamn i love geoff's writing

Digging: Owen - Other People's Songs

fromtheinside
July 12th 2014


19029 Comments


no. darklyrics

GringoSuave89
July 12th 2014


1049 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Either or works for me.

Digging: Old Man Gloom - The Ape of God I

Rowan5215
July 12th 2014


27879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Geoff's lyrics are so good and darklyrics is the best lyrics site

dimsim3478
July 12th 2014


5327 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's a metal site tho

Rowan5215
July 12th 2014


27879 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They have non-metal stuff on there

Futures
July 12th 2014


12072 Comments


songmeanings or foad for real

fromtheinside
July 12th 2014


19029 Comments


lol and now were on music site discussing lyric sites. what is life

klap
Staff Reviewer
July 12th 2014


10545 Comments


he lives

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Cygnatti
July 12th 2014


21877 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

songmeanings or plyrics or gtfo

Digging: Chansey - Natural Cure



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