If this is the future of music, then the industry is in safe hands.
Not many debut albums have sparked such pre-release hype amongst the musical fraternity as this one from Braintree outlet ‘Union Kid’. Arriving at a time when the industry appears stale, and doesn’t seem to know whether it’s coming or going, this highly acclaimed and accomplished album presents us all with something to shout about. Not only that, it restores and rekindles any lost faith in the future of homegrown talent.
You may have heard snippets of Union Kid on the Evening Session, championed by indie king, Steve Lamacq, the band are set to burst on to the current scene with this, possibly one of the debuts of the year so far.
Combining a range of styles, influences and genres throughout, the album is all about the music (man!) Unlike many new bands, who are seemingly forced into the studio too soon, where the results usually dwindle on unfinished and certainly un-mastered end products. This album flows and effortlessly moves from one transition to the next. Each of the 14 tracks fit perfectly into the musical context and back grounding of the album, so much so you sense this perfection in the ordering of the track list. In truth it contains exactly what the band wanted it to contain, and certainly not just any combination of half arsed songs.
Think post-punk rock, Pixies, Undertones, rebellion, revolution and a mangle of other distorted sounds then you’ve arrived at a particularly predominate area of this multi-faceted album. The album opens with the raw, and bass driven sound of ‘Silence/effect’ an energetic and almost punk motivated track, that later descends into a more rhythmic, ritualistic ending section. The outstanding and over riding impression from this opener, is this is gonna be an album that grips you firmly by the throat, and just screams straight at you in vitriolic and pure emotive style. The opening doesn’t so much act as a tone setter, as throughout the tone is constantly changing, it merely states their intentions.
This harsher, rawer side is perfectly complimented and counterbalanced with the seemingly softer and pensive inklings that we are exposed to throughout and none more so than in ‘Quality Time.’ Gentle vocals and pensive lyrics make this a perfect drifter; aptly suited to say those 4am nostalgia moments we are all exposed to from time to time. It’s heavy bass line and prominent drum beats support and highlight the lyrics deeply moving you. This track genuinely feels as if it was written from the depths of their hearts not to mention their conscious thoughts.
Being a fellow Essex dweller, I took a particular shine to ‘This Is Killer Island’. A moody and almost morose track fronted by a range of different sounds and sound effects, which convey an eerie and heavy ambience throughout. Heavier guitar rifts and deep lyrics that all culminate to a most fantastic ending, conveying this feeling of escape and a certain longing for freedom.
Another standout track would have to be ‘Fort Disney’ a tongue-in-check take off of American punk laced with irony all the way through. Just another area covered in this generous offering. The album is rounded off with ‘Gonna Leave Here’ a surprising yet equally fitting instrumental. Gentle and airy to begin with the track ambles along at a nice calming pace, wrapping up all that has gone before allowing the listener to reflect back and place into a wider context. Just perfect as the closing number.
Each track is set apart, yet somehow uniquely blended into the ambience and musical, not to mention emotional context of the album. Every moment is perfectly choreographed to take us all in the appropriate direction, leading us to another seemingly different area that ‘Union Kid’ as a band have to offer.
The clarity and presence of this album is remarkable, each sound, every tone, it all seems so carefully positioned, almost picked up and manipulated into the perfect placing, no other debut album in recent memory has conveyed ideas such as these.
A totally refreshing and equally inspirational debut album, from a band that look to have a lot on offer. And as the industry itself appears to be in complete disarray, bright new talent such as this seem to be paving the way, and resuscitating the dilapidated scene, adding new blood and new life, and above all else, decent music!
8Vic Bird's Score