We Are the Union - Who We Are (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

We Are the Union

Who We Are (2007)


Set Your Goals with horns. That's basically what We Are the Union's 2007 album Who We Are sounds like. And while it may seem belittling to pigeonhole them right off the bat, We Are the Union would probably be the first to admit it. I mean, they love to define themselves; it's right in the band and album names. The liner notes straight up list SYG as an influence, along with Lifetime, Rehasher and Big D and the Kids Table. Union even cribs a D line -- "Your allowance exceeds my rent" – for a song title. Regardless of the obvious reference points, though, Who We Are is a solid record, with an emphasis on putting melody in melodic skacore.

Of course, the ska elements are pretty basic in the mix. By which I mean, there's horns and a few traces of Jamaican rhythm here and there, such as on "These Colors Flee the Scene." We Are the Union really push for a more straight pop-punk/hardcore sound, an always tried ‘n' true format. And they do it well. The choruses soar, the drums are punchy, the guitars are crunchy (but too crunchy) and the vocals are strong. Vocalist Reed Michael sometimes come off as a Patrick Stump stand-in, which might turn off those of us who deeply, deeply loathe Fall Out Boy. At the same time, though, both dudes have big ol' pipes, so I can't fault either of them for being able to belt it out.

Point is, Who We Are is fun. Catchy and quick, with a dash of posi and political connotations, these 11 songs will embed themselves deeper into your brainy bits than a Ceti eel from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. While the sound (and the overeager lyrics) may grow stale after too many spins, there's no denying the punch of "MTV Is Over, If You Want It" or album ender "Ourcore," which is essentially We Are the Union's version of SYG's "Echoes." With summer's official start a week away, Who We Are will make for an excellent seasonal spin.