Failures' Union - Sinker (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Failures' Union

Sinker (2007)

One Percent Press

I'm quite a jerk. One Percent Press sent me a whole box of releases quite some time ago and while I gave 'em all cursory listens, I was left grasping for words. Cut to a couple years later and Paper + Plastick sends me the Failures' Union's In What Way and I enjoy it thoroughly. So I revisit that box one day and discover that the band's previous full-length, Sinker, is in there. I guess I must have become a little more fond for this kind of stuff--a decidedly punkier, looser take on '90s alternative à la the Lemonheads, Gin Blossoms and even Counting Crows--the past few years.

Sinker actually feels a little more emotionally dynamic than its followup at certain points, and in many ways is just as developed and thoughtful. There's a raucuous urgency filtered through restrained melody in upbeat cuts like "Classic Car Wreck," "West Coast, NY" and the closing title track while the band include smartly repetitive hooks in slightly more tense numbers like "Love to Leave It" and "No Meadows," the latter of which features a perfect guest appearance by Lemuria's Sheena Ozzella (at the time of this album's release, bassist/vocalist was actually in that very fellow Buffalo act).

There's a rare alt-country twang that doesn't come up often, but nonetheless makes a nearly immediate appearance in Track 2, "Useless Facts," and it fits well, as it does for "Carry It Well." There's even a sort of graceful Jets to Brazil-esque vibe that permeates a song like "Burned to Last" and I hope the band explore this a little more than what came up on In What Way.

I'm glad I revisited Sinker, and not just because I managed to get at least something reviewed for the label. It's a cracking debut that gets away with its 16-track length because it's really only about 41 minutes. Easily recommended if you enjoyed In What Way--and it should be out on vinyl pretty soon.

Useless Facts
West Coast, NY
Friends in Jail