We Are The Union – You Can’t Hide The Sun
Record Label: Paper + Plastick Records
Release Date: October 16, 2012
It feels like it’s been ages since We Are The Union released Great Leaps Forward. Still, what a perfect title for their sophomore record that proved to be, allowing the breakthrough introduction of the ska-infused pop-punk band. It was brash, fast-paced, and reflective on the problems within society.
Well, here we are in 2012 and We Are The Union have more to say with You Can’t Hide The Sun. There’s a sense of angst here beaten into the band by society, but hope still lives somewhere in these songs. Things still aren’t all bright and beautiful, yet the world keeps on spinning. Make the most of your time – that’s what this album makes us aware of.
Hell, isn’t “Dust On The Hourglass” the embodiment of this sentiment? The opener gets going with guitars paving the way for the classic horns that come out of nowhere and perk up your ears. Yet while the song is a rapid fist-pumper, what hits the hardest is when the horns and guitars suddenly fade and cut out. At this point, this single line stands out: “So the years passed / You can see through dust on the hourglass / You’ve lost ten thousand grains of sand / And you can never get them back.” There’s no blaring horns, machine gun drumming, or amped up guitars here, just the help of Nick Diener (The Swellers) to deliver one of the most important lines on the record.
Inevitably, We Are The Union have grown up throughout the past two years. The prime example of this comes with the mid-tempo “Live Like Mitch.” Chunky guitar riffs make certain the line “I’m gonna live like Mitch / Give more than I get / Ride out the dark days with a grit” hits home. Alike to on the opener, Wolcot uses the structure of the track to his advantage, weaving the words, “Live hard to celebrate your life / I know you too well friend / Clean lungs were never meant / To run out of breath” in at the opportune time when the music cuts and all ears are on his words. Using this structure, the tragedy of dying young hits hard throughout this sentimental single.
But the guys still want to rock out, and that’s totally fine. “I Want You To Hit Me As Hard As You Can” is one of the most raucous, straight-up punk jams they’ve written, with roaring horns and rapid-fire drums making your foot tap along. Similarly, “If I Can't Smoke Or Swear, I'm Fucked” follows suit, as Jim Margle attacks the drum kit like a mad man for two minutes. Relying on horns and thick guitar strums, “415 In Progress” is sure to be a hit live, as concert goers are sure to yell, “So let this siren scream / You’re the noise complaint to this basement scene” at the top of their lungs.
Clearly, We Are The Union offer a little bit of everything throughout You Can’t Hide The Sun. It’s fast at times, while conscious and well planned at others. The example of this antithesis comes within the pair “Do What You Love…” and “Delta. Oscar. Whiskey. November.” The former has horns blaring as Wolcot finds a new form of optimism in never being held back – it’s an anthem of being true to yourself. On the other hand, the latter is a slower burner. It starts off with troubling palm mutes before the guitars pick up and drums come in as Wolcot sings with intensified emotion. Rapid fire drumming kicks up the energy of the track as Wolcot wails, “From the top of this mountain I live on / My only view is all I’ve done wrong / It plays over and over again.” It’s easily the most cathartic, strongest number on the record.
With You Can’t Hide The Sun, We Are The Union manage to find optimism buried within the depths of loss. Even when times get tough, moving forward proves to be the only option. Closer “The Ghost That Haunted Me” proves to be the epitome of this sentiment, being the record’s anthem with the resonating words, “Time only moves forward / So why waste it on the bad days.” As these notes ring out and You Can’t Hide The Sun ends, it’s evident that We Are The Union have taken great leaps forward to get here, and they aren’t about to give up now.
At this point, this single line stands out: “So the years passed / You can see through dust on the hourglass / You’ve lost ten thousand grains of sand / And you can never get them back.” There’s no blaring horns, machine gun drumming, or amped up guitars here, just Reed Wolcot’s composed delivery of one of the most important lines on the record.
Hate to be this guy, but that line is actually sung by Nick Diener from The Swellers, not Reed.
I can't wait to see these songs played in Minneapolis next month! I've been trying to see this band since I got their first album for free on Purevolume when I was in middle school like 5 years ago. I lived in Fargo back then and constantly messaged them on Myspace (lol) trying to convince them to play shows there so I could see them. Now that I moved here I'll finally get my chance!