|The Union - 'The World Is Yours' (Payola Records)|
|Written by Russ P|
|Wednesday, 13 February 2013 03:00|
Whilst I've been an admirer of Luke Morley since the Terraplane days over 20 years ago I'm fairly new to The Union, which, I admit, is a crime. After their appearance at the Steelhouse Festival in 2012 I was impressed with the band's easygoing, effortless back to basics tunes. Taking their cues from classic bands like Free and early Whitesnake it wasn't long before I was dipping my toes into their back catalogue.
So this, the band's third album, is more of the same really. Which, given the band's temperate tones isn't a bad thing. Opener 'You're My Jesus' has glimpses of Soundgarden throughout with the bluesy vocals and down tuned guitar while the radio-friendly follow up 'Tonight I'm Alive' sounds more like Tom Petty and The Traveling Wilburys in the way that it jauntily ticks along.
Things get much more interesting very quickly with the low key acoustic ballad 'Fading Out Of Love' where Shoulder sounds like vintage Coverdale crossed with Doyle Bramhall II. The organ and pedal steel in this track is inspired - subtle and tastefully played. Such is the sound of The Union that the band keep this ballad's feet firmly on the ground. It never sounds bombastic or overblown. The band's touch is perfect.
Title track 'The World Is Yours' is, quite frankly, superb. Every time I listen to it I reach for the volume and crank it up. With a goose-pimple inducing riff this is The Union's 'Kashmir'. Who would have thought that something with acoustic guitars could sound so heavy? Love it! Too bad it has to end.
The camp fire gentleness of 'To Say Goodbye' couldn't be further away from the all out rockathon that was 'The World Is Yours' but the break isn't jarring which is testament to the band's songwriting which flips the old saying around into 'substance over style' which could be The Union's mission statement.
And so the rest of the album follows in a similar format to their previous albums where the band mix up the all out rock of tunes such as the weighty 'What Doesn't Kill You' and the high tempo 'Wreck My Scene' with a worldly musical eclecticism. The dark cuban tango of 'The Perfect Crime' and the Mississippi swamp rock of 'Marie Celeste' being two such examples. Also present is an undercurrent of southern rock as in 'Tangled Up In You' and 'Lost To The WInd' which could be a very distant cousin to Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Tuesday's Gone'.
If you're anything like me then this is an album that you'll get on the first listen. It's got such an ease to it that you can put it on and then be surprised that it's over despite it being over 50 minutes in length. And because of this ease I think it's a deceptive album. It could be so easy to put this on and let it become background music. But that would be missing the point. So, press play, enjoy and listen…closely.