After a highly promising EP, San Francisco’s The Union Trade rather lost their way with an uneven long player to follow it up. So perhaps making their next release on a shorter format again will pay dividends.
The title tracks begins with a crescendo of guitar effects and crashing piano chords. Then the song settles down to a sedate pace to allow Nate Munger’s yearning rock vocal time to make itself heard. It doesn’t take long for the noise to come back though, except now it has more emotional resonance than before. ‘Headlands’ is subtle until its eventual coda; Munger’s lived-in tones adding a comforting warmth and familiarity that is rare to find on post-rock records.
Of the remainder, ‘Hawk Vs. Crow’ threatens to break into Hope Of The States’ ‘Black Dollar Bills’ but settles down and decides to be an instrumental instead and then it’s left to ‘This Is What Happens’ and ‘Aurelia’ to take you on an epic, widescreen rock journey. Both songs have an undeniable (but also acceptable) feel of the 1980’s about them; the latter even features a cheesy synth solo for good measure.
By emphasising the songs rather than their post rock credentials, The Union Trade have gone down the opposite route to where they were heading on their album. It’s probably a good move too and they have also retained the crucial ability to create cinematic atmospheres.
Hope Of The States