Friday, February 4, 2011
We Are the Union - Great Leaps Forward
If you listen to ska, you know who We Are the Union (WATU) is. I know, I'm an assuming bastard, whatever; I've heard it all before. Regardless, here's a short description of who these dudes are. WATU is a blend of Set Your Goals-style pop punk with Less Than Jake-style ska (or as my friend Tim says, LTJ if they grew up listening to epifat bands). They're into veganism and activism and against military and the Boss. Guitarist/Singer Reed Wolcott has always been pretty damn solid with his lyricism. I've always felt like the songs were relatable and his views on things like government, the war in Iraq, and other things were pretty spot on to how I feel about things. His lyricism has definitely gotten better for their newest album Great Leaps Forward, and the music is beyond fucking excellent too!
Upon reading their lyrics, you'll notice that death is a huge theme of this album. Reed has addressed how they feel regarding it. Once you're dead, you're dead. And to them that's a kick in the ass to get shit done and make their mark. I think is a positive way to look at an atheist world view. I'm atheist myself, and people often seem to think it's a depressing way to live, when I don't feel like it is at all. Okay, I don't want to bore all of you with my bullshit before we get to the actual album review.
"We're All Dead" kicks off Great Leaps Forward with an abundance of the theme I mentioned before. Heavy guitar, nice drums, and some solid trombone work done by Matt Belanger. This is a song about chasing dreams and carpe dieming and shit. Then the second song, one of my favorites, attacks your shit. "Where'd you go, pyscho boy?" is a great track about gender roles regarding boys. "BOYS WILL BE BOYS!" belted by Matt will get stuck in your head forever, as will "Follow the leader, cracking skulls and closing minds" sung by Reed.
The next two songs are two more of my favorite songs on this album, and both deserve your intense attention. I'm going to post a link to the lyrics for this album at the bottom of this review, because they're important with this band. "Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic" is a catchy song about capitalism, and "Glaring Teeth" is a song about some guy who killed a chick in Michigan nearby where Reed and Matt live. Tim and I agree that Glaring Teeth is the catchiest shit in the world. Word.
The trombone on this album is really awesome, I've always liked Matt's tromboning. He plays on this Wonder Years song that I generally don't like is made immensely better when his part comes in on trombone. He also played with Suicide Machines at Fest this year...as a trombone player, I was jealous as fuck. I was impressed by this dude immediately the first time I saw them. My first real show playing with a band was a show my old band played with WATU, and they were fucking great.
The main problem with reviewing Great Leaps Forward is that it's impossible to do it without going on and on and on. I'm going to honestly have to quit going track by track and just lay this shit out for you in this paragraph: get this album! Buy it, download it, do something, but just listen to this album. If you don't love it, then there's not much hope for you, because I think it's brilliant. The lyrics are awesome, the music is awesome, the vocals are awesome, the trombone is awesome. It's all awesome. I've literally destroyed the word awesome by using it so much at this point; it no longer has meaning as a word. So this album is now considered fantastic!
You can pick it up over at Paper + Plastick if you want to buy it.
-Idle (with notes from Tim McGowan)
P.S. Tim finds it necessary that I mention Matt spent an hour and a half talking to Tim about random shit at a show Tim booked for WATU.
"He has been nothing but nice to me everything I see him. He was so happy that I watched them at Fest. I am also pissed I can't see them on the ska is dead tour."