United Nations - The Next Four Years (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

United Nations

The Next Four Years (2014)

Temporary Residence

Sometimes, it's good to let loose. Not like Pianos Become The Teeth need to be taught anything about that. Their screamo/post—hardcore work has pushed The Wave along nicely — throaty, driven, powerful and emotive — but, as with any fire, you channel more fuel into it, it'll grow. This ensemble of musicians do that with United Nations. They grow — incandescent, raging, uncontrollable, disturbing and in this album's case, more direct. The Next Four Years is just that as it surpasses how loud and distinct United Nations sounded before. It's in this tone of voice that former Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly re—establishes himself as someone who'll keep knocking on your door, even when written off, and frames himself as the gasoline for the keg. This album is violent, dark, full of anger and explosiveness — and one you shouldn't miss out on.

It feels like the little brother to Deafheaven's Sunbather as there's a comprehensive black—metal flag waved by so many of the tracks. The previous United Nations work felt a tad cursory and left a lot of room for the band to map out but this record takes a deep breath and sprawls in the most ideal manner whilst unlocking its potential. UN took their time, tailored it to suit and curtailed nothing that would take away from the noise to ensue. Heavy screamo, melodic riffs and stomping, lightning—fast kit work provide the instrumental canvas that PBTT expound on, graciously, and much to the delight of fans of Old Pride and The Lack Long After. If this record teases the composition of the new PBTT full—length later this year, then I'm sold already. The fluidity and incessant banging never let up as heard on "Meanwhile On Main Street" and "Serious Business" — which are the opening one—two salvo that leaves you stunned and breathless.

Oddly enough, Tucker Rule, ex—Thursday drummer and Rickly's good friend, came out drumming with Get Involved earlier this year and this band courted a similar sound but not quite as aggressive as UN. After hearing Rickly's quaint and experimental solo compilations, you wonder, was there a split in Thursday as to how heavy they should go? These new projects (from both Thursday alumni) seem unabashed with cynicism, political missives and strong musical idiosyncrasies that would make for vicious moshing and surely sate the Thursday following before Island Records came into play. That nostalgia aside, much credit to PBTT as it feels like they took templates for A City By The Light Divided and ramped them up to the point where oldies like "Jet Black New Year" and "At This Velocity" (off the latter) became something to splurge on — with a magnificent and relentless paintbrush. A lot of this album reflects that as it unravels as fearless and as one with zero—fucks—given.

lt'll be very interesting to to see where Rickly and his new project with the Lost Prophets musicians goes, but after ingesting dynamic guitars, pummeling with distortion, contrasting tempos to the point where they're battling with each other and shaking heavyset riffage which crack you flush at the drop of a hat, I can't see him topping the UN work. Not right now. It has an incendiary atmosphere to it that's better off in this bitter and jaw—dropping sound. Sure, at times, it's dour but still brimming with energy and augments both musical visions perfectly. There's a wicked uniformity here that United Nations can pride itself on — as it's own thing.

"Between Two Mirrors" exemplifies this to a tee. The chemistry's there, the trade—off isn't much with both artists coming together and the overall interplay has enormous layers of personality and character. The ideas exist. The execution's there. "Fuck The Future" wraps the album best and as PBTT continue to do what they do well, I think this record shows why Geoff Rickly should spend more time on the nesting grounds that is United Nations.