These United States
Stateside first featured Lexington, Kentucky’s These United States in summer 2010 when the band was making the U.S. festival rounds. I was happy, then, to receive a review CD of the band’s fifth studio outing, a self-titled album released 12 June on the label United Interests.
These United States kicks off with “Dead & Gone,” a blues scorcher that features some tasty piano courtesy of Jukebox the Ghost’s Ben Thornewill. “Born Young” follows in funky fashion, adding some glam rock guitar, while “Let the River In” is swaggering country rock in the tradition of The Band and Creedence Clearwater Revival. “Miss Underground” slows things down a bit; the tune is pure southern gothic with haunted background vocals by Laura Mae Socks and Lavinia Jones Right. “Maps” shuffles through some familiar folk terrain while “Two Gods” flirts with baroque pop. “Not Gone Tonight” is a fairly straightforward rocker that features David Moore of Langhorne Slim on keys. “So Sweet Tonight” reinforces the 70’s glam rock influence, referencing T-Rex and Marc Bolan rather explicitly. “The Angel’s Share” is sparser yet no less anthemic, pitting pedal steel against a U2-inspired guitar line. These United States winds down in fine fashion: “The Park” is pastoral acid folk with a heartbreaking lead vocal by bandleader Jesse Elliot while “Vince” is a road song worthy of The Grateful Dead. The album-closing “Never Stop Falling” is loose and organic, again recalling The Band and their “Big Pink”-era jams with Bob Dylan.
TUS is currently on tour in the southern and Midwestern U.S.A. www.theseunitedstates.net