I think if We Are the Union was around when I was in high school, my life would have gone into a different direction. Granted, I listened to music that sounded like them, but nothing that had so much energy, a horn section, and honest lyrics all in one. We Are the Union took the best parts of punk, ska, and pop-punk and rolled them into one to make a roller coaster of music. With the album You Can’t Hide The Sun, We Are the Union show that they can still play fast melodic ska punk music, but also slow down the pace. This album shows maturity while making the listener want more, but unfortunately after the release of this stellar album, We Are the Union called it quits.
Like any We Are the Union album, they are quick and over before you know it. This album though, gives the listener time to breathe and take in the musicianship. Songs like “Delta. Oscar. Whiskey. November.” and “Live like Mitch” take a slower pace throughout. However, through the entire album the band turns each verse into a ska break down. It is hard to compare We Are the Union to other ska bands, because they take the genre and make it their own sound.
“I’m going to live like Mitch,
Give more than I get,
Ride out the dark days with a grin,
I’m going to live,
Live like Mitch.”
The rest of the album keeps the same formula that works for We Are the Union. Fast drums, complimentary horns, and face melting guitar solos. “If I Can’t Smoke Or Swear, I’m Fucked” has probably the most fast and unique guitar solo I’ve ever heard. A song worth a listen no matter what type of music you like. The solo sounds something out of Bill & Ted’s band Wylde Stallion. Rufus would be proud.
While listening to this album, it seems that the theme of the album is moving forward. The lyrical content deals with being taken advantage of, loosing friends, and finding your place as you grow older. Something any mid 20 year old can relate to. Hence why I find this album relatable and why this album made my top 10 of 2012.
I should mention that when 2013 came around, I made the song “Do What You Love…” my theme song for the year. Not only do I like the song title, but the lyrics are a kick in the face. They are inspiring and aggressive to get motivation running through your veins.
”This year has felt like pouring rain,
But I’m ready now to put dynamite under these hollow walls.
It’s been a long time coming now,
But I realize I’m all I need around.
I’ve become a cannon ball,
A silver bullet aimed for my lack of ambition,
I’ve become a cannon ball,
Let’s get these wheels turning,
I’m a missile on a mission to destroy anything that holds me back.”
I think We Are the Union had a unique sound that separated themselves from their peers, but in this day in age bands have to either sell out their souls or do something to stand out. We Are the Union was an honest band that stuck to their values, and I think that will shine through when the dust clears. I hope years from now, people will start to appreciate their music and realize they missed out on a very honest and talented band.
“Time only moves forward,
So why waste it on the bad days.”
Paper + Plastick Records yet again produce a great release. Not only do they succeed in having three different color variants, but this album has some unique packaging. Not only is there a lyric sheet, but the listener also gets a sun dial that can be used on the top of the record. Other labels should take note at how Paper + Plastick give fans more than just music. This label gets you to want to buy the record for the extra goodies.