Beat Union - Disconnected (Cover Artwork)

Beat Union

Disconnected (2008)


Birmingham, England's Beat Union already have almost all the right ingredients needed to help them make a name for themselves in the US: an already completed tour with reggae stars Bedouin Soundclash and Westbound Train; a spot on this summer's Warped Tour that's gonna take them around the country all summer; full-page ads in magazines like Alternative Press; endorsement from Hurley; and notable producer John Feldmann signing on to help make their debut album shine with a coat of poppy goodness. After seeing Beat Union at the Stone Pony on the aforementioned tour back in January, judging by their live show I really thought the band had the chance to be huge in the states. With big dance beats, a few sing-along "whoa"s and another bass player who just can't seem to keep his feet on the ground for a second, it seemed like they had a formula down pat and were ready to put it into action across the sea. I was really hoping that all the excitement they made on stage would be captured well on their record, Disconnected. But after four months of waiting for it to finally drop, I can say that I'm a little underwhelmed.

To best describe Beat Union would be a good combination of already established Brits like Elvis Costello, the Jam and the English Beat, mixed lyrically with the abundant emo/pop-punk jive around today. John Feldmann (who pretty much did everything involving the making this record aside from actually playing the instruments) also jumps in and glosses up the album pretty well to make it blend in atmospherically with the Union's power-pop peers.

While none of the tracks are necessarily bad, they fail to bring much to the table as far as staying power. The effort is there, but the hooks that the genre is so dependent on are often weak at best. While songs like "My Heart Starts Beating" and "Stay on the Line" are pretty infectious, after a few listens they already begin to lose their flavor. But I don't want to take away from the talent the band clearly has. They play very tight and bop around the course of a lengthy near-40 minutes with a lot of energy. While the choruses may not be so catchy, the big beats on tracks like "Pressure Zone" and "She Is the Gun" provide enough enjoyment to not bring the record down too much. Another highlight are the few guitar leads that accompany songs like "Don't Have Love" (easily one of the album's better pieces) and the feverish drum beat that keeps "She Is the Gun" pulling along. But by the middle of the record some of the momentum gets lost and it then begins to dip down into mediocrity. It recovers here and there, but still doesn't equal what the first half brought.

But I think that even with all the energy that the album has, the recording still sadly comes off rather generic and played out. Beat Union is certainly not reinventing anything, more just paying tribute to it. Instead of bringing something different to the table, Disconnected sits itself down with a plate of recycled sounds that appeal to you in person, but not as much in the studio.