October 16, 2012 - Paper + Plastick
The resemblance between We Are The Union and a ska-punk prototype like Less Than Jake is uncanny—but the similarities in horn-constructed harmonies and true-to-life lyrics don’t define them. There’s freshness to WATU’s approach, one that, since the band’s inception in 2005, continues to push the well-worn genre into another phase of relevance. Maybe it’s WATU’s hometown of Detroit that gives way to their blue-collar sound, but regardless of geography as a factor, the band wear their hard work well. As a whole, You Can't Hide The Sun has rhythmic diversity throughout; “…And Fuck The Rest” and its partner track “Delta. Oscar. Whiskey. November.” are examples of this balancing act between a straightforward punk ethos and a rocksteady heart. The band’s ability to use horns as a vessel for emotion when the vocals can’t quite cut it is another asset WATU can bank on—the gang shout, “So fuck the world, it gives me no love,” from “I Want You To Hit Me As Hard As You Can” is powerful prose, but the horns are what give the song a complex depth. Tapping into the genius of ska, the band understand that an understated brass section is an effective one. One listen of We Are The Union’s You Can’t Hide The Sun could make it an easily dismissed ska derivative, but repeat plays reveals a no-bullshit band that’s in it for the long haul.