We Are The Union - You Can't B-Sides The Sun [Digital Single] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

We Are The Union

You Can't B-Sides The Sun [Digital Single] (2014)

Paper and Plastick

We Are The Union put out one of the most underrated records of 2012. You Can't Hide The Sun offered so much in the way of fast-paced, numbing pop-punk and ska, that it was too much too take in. As their best record to date, imagine stumbling across these two B-side tracks now and realizing that they're even better than most songs on that aforementioned album. Trust me...I didn't think that was possible. How did these escape an already amazing album? Don't know and don't care. This right here is the stuff of gold and serves as a huge reminder why their music is missed.

In just 70 seconds, "Smash The Machine" is vigorous and energetic punk done right...and with a near-perfect melodic stance. Simply breathtaking. What's more astonishing is that the ska-influence is really toned down allowing a more self-critical and anthemic feel that allows you to gauge them more on the punk side of the coin. Reed Wolcott and Ricky Weber lace the guitars with pop-punk attitude but the vibrancy of the crashing and standout kitwork by Jim Margles runs riot. He lays a sound foundation as he binges on a more heavier, thumping and commanding vibe. The mid-tempo bridge maintains a fervent feel while still allowing the track to breathe. It shows a versatility that older fans would connect with and still impresses in how they stuff so much into such a small space of time. Quite a task. On the flip-side, Wolcott's semi-gruff vocals continue to show just why he fit the band so neatly.

"Debris" is even quicker and gorges on start-stop guitars at the intro before barreling once more into the front-runner of the record, in Margles' driving drums. He steadily provides the melodic spine for slick riffs and neat, catchy hooks, that are further accentuated with the most subtle sprinkles of ska. Tuning down the ska-factor worked well but the minor glosses of trombones and trumpets here and there, while less pronounced than you'd expect, still make for beautiful musical elaboration. This also represents one of their heavier songs which calms mid-way through for an interlude that sets up a gripping finale - multiple layered vocals as if to signal why we should be missing their music. It's a resounding finale.

Assuming the Less Than Jake record hit the right notes with you last month, then here's a great piece of advice. Catch this and the You Can't Hide The Sun. It'll show why WATU is one of the most under-the-radar and enterprising bands that needs to be back in the fold of ska-punk.