Failures' Union - Tethering (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Failures' Union

Tethering (2013)

Dead Broke Rekerds

If I were a betting man, I’d be willing to wager that the Ipods of the guys in Failure’s Union have heavy play counts of Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy”. Their music is just so reminiscent of everything about that song: its melodic sadness, its radio readiness, its unique pop vision. The Buffalo-based band does head-bobbing 90s pop-rock that’s easy to stomach, but they add a heavy dose of indie madness to the mix.

Maybe a more contemporary comparison would be Cheap Girls. Though without the heavy Dinosaur Jr. tone guitars and shrieking solos, Failure’s Union’s modern take on classic pop-rock fits right in with Ian Graham and company. Instead of high gain, the band opts for mostly clean and buzzing guitars, and the result is a more intimate and morose take on the format. The self-deprecation found in lines like “I will probably run away, use you as a human shield one day” from “Human Shield” could easily be from Graham’s sick head. Vocalist Tony Flaminio even shares that thick barroom croon.

It’d be unfair to limit the scope of this album to Gin Blossoms meets Cheap Girls, though. There are a lot of other influences poking through the songs. The opening track “Painting Lines” has an almost quirky indie-rock energy a’la Everyone Everywhere. “The Furthest Point” benefits from a wonderful synthesizer line straight out of Motion City Soundtrack, whereas “The Arrow” is a stadium-filling radio rock song. “I Have Never Been” takes things down for some surf-rock inspired vibes. While much of the remaining tracks take Gin Blossom form, there’s plenty of miscellaneous tidbits that spice up the album’s thirteen songs.

This album’s a grower- there’s a lot to chew on. Despite the obvious pop-rock melodies, there’s a lot of musical diversity underneath and much to explore. Though it’s nearly a few years old already, it’s worth a listen and worth getting stuck in your head.