We Are The Union - Keep It Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

We Are The Union

Keep It Down (2015)

Paper and Plastick

We Are The Union's You Can't Hide The Sun was one of 2012's most underrated albums. In terms of appropriating ska and pop-punk, they've always pulled it off pretty nicely and Keep It Down isn't any exception. Hiatus aside, WATU have refueled the tank with a less ska-heavy sound this time around but it's a shift in gear done cleverly. They navigate poppier terrain but work it well with an edgier, radio-friendly tune-set. The end result? Well, I'm glad to say that the EP doesn't flop. Still, this is one band you just won't enjoy as much without a certain element to their sound. Seriously, the world needs more horns. Don't ever cut back on the ska-factor!!!

In terms of pop-punk, WATU heavily traverse this ground on tracks like "Bury Me" and "Call In Dead". They run a bit of risk in terms of coming off cookie-cutter but the band walks this slippery slope quite well. The production's so clean and actually works in their favor in terms of cutting away the few rough edges their past releases had. Too mainstream? Maybe. But again, they work, especially on the reggae-laden "The Dreams That You Forgot". It's a good balance which paves the way for the more aggressive "My Whole Life Is A Dark Room" -- all showing a growing experience with respect to the songwriting. There's a more mature style and not too much of the young, cavalier vibe off their old songs. Either style's now proven to fit right into their equation.

One thing I liked off the last record was that WATU had a bit more Bedouin Soundclash to them. That's gone and I admit I miss that but Keep It Down isn't as trying as I thought it would have been. I was scared they cut back on the things that resonated with me after the opening track but overall, WATU end up churning out a fine mix. It's too short but still has enough of their old finesse. Their cover of Green Day's "Burnout" is testament to this - a band that still has drive, oomph and purpose. They feel different but nothing drastic. These six songs end up being a pretty good listen and would service fans quite well.