We Are the Union - You Can't Hide The Sun (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

We Are the Union

You Can't Hide The Sun (2012)

Paper and Plastick

It's been a two-year wait and the LP's finally arrived from the Detroit ensemble. We Are the Union have always neatly blended ska with their pop-punk sound and this ska-punk has gone over well amid comparisons to Set Your Goal, Lifetime and Fall Out Boy mixed in with a bit of Catch-22 and Streetlight Manifesto. They've always managed to stamp their signature and carve out their own way, and this record's no different. It's stuck to that melodic vibe they've cultivated since 2005 with the right ska interjections to keep the record flowing smoothly.

"Dust on the Hourglass" and "I Want You to Hit Me as Hard as You Can" are prime examples of tracks where WATU focus on the punk aspect more than the ska, all adding a tad bit diversity to the record. The horns, trombone and Jamaican reggae vibe are placed subtly on the record in bits and pieces but the framework and structural sequence of the record listing work well overall. "Live Like Mitch," for instance, boasts that eclectic guitarwork of Reed Wolcott and Ricky Webber while ensuring there's a Bedouin Soundclash/Streetlight Manifesto sound grafted in.

Brandon Benson's basswork is very prominent as he cuts back on his vocals allowing Wolcott to weave his magic, and he hasn't changed a bit. "415 In Progress" and "Hellbound and Hapless" highlight Wolcott's clean-cut vocal ability pretty nicely whether he's singing about emotional distress or raising a punk-rock call-to-arms for resistance. You can feel the Less than Jake/Millencolin/Kid Dynamite influence at times. They've forged ahead well from Great Leaps Forward and Who We Are as they try to remain catchy, soundly melodic, with solid guitars worked into the intricate ska-sound.

Wolcott sticks well to his infectious poppy choruses and anthemic lines. You can sense his confidence in the band's quality with every line delivered. "And Fuck The Rest" snowballs nicely, with a mellow Sublime/No Doubt build, as it segues into "Delta.Oscar.Whiskey," which is one of their most satisfying songs ever. This record definitely builds on the great efforts past, and shows how far WATU has come, with no intentions of letting up.