These United States - These United States
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Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 4 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The fifth album for the indie rock band led by Jesse Elliott features a large group of guests artists including Deer Tick, Cotton Jones, Jukebox the Ghost, Langhorne Slim, Phosphorescent, Ben Sollee, and The Mynabirds.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. 70
    The band's willingness to persevere rather than fall victim to the misery gives These United States a winning quality.
  2. Jul 27, 2012
    60
    Another solid step in their ongoing evolution, These United States constitutes a genuine declaration of independence.
  3. Jul 27, 2012
    50
    For all the drama, this is auto-pilot-rock. [Jun 2012, p.161]
  4. Jul 27, 2012
    50
    [Frontman Jesse] Elliott seems more preoccupied with packing prosaic lyrics with regional references than encouraging the participatory response these large-band arrangements often beg for. [#88, p.60]
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Aug 8, 2012
    9
    These United States, if you don't know, play this kind of heavily lyrical indie rock, tinged with a bit of what some might call Americana. Don't be fooled, though, as there's no banjo or fiddle adorning these tracks, or their live shows. This album picks up where Crimes (their best album) left off, casting aside the downtrodden nature of their previous album, What Lasts. Instead, these five, with their fifth album, a self-titled production seemingly designed to finally show what they're made of, brings back the fun this band seems to revel in so much. The band is an absolute riot live, firing off their best tracks and trying out new material and an occasional cover. This album begins to capture that live spirit again, in the same way that Crimes did so very well.

    For song writing, band leader Jesse Elliot is in top form here. Whether it's the joyous fun that starts off the album (with tracks "Dead & Gone" and "Born Young"), the quiet blues of "Miss Underground," or the superb emotive "The Park" and "Never Stop Falling" this album embraces the variety of language in a way too few often do. It's a wonder to listen to, and to imagine, at times, where Elliot will even take a breath in a song.

    The album also breaks some new TUS ground in the "supporting characters" department, as members of Deer Tick, Langhorne Slim, The Mynabirds, Phosphorescent, Frontier Ruckus, and more all make appearances for varying effect. This is a nice touch, to show they are part of a respected musical community. I would be remiss, though, to completely cry "hear hear!" for this album. I've rated it at a 9/10, admittedly very high, but it does have a couple tracks that I just can't quite get into; they seem to pull the middle of the album down just a bit, but the "shot through Chicago" movement of "The Angel's Share" pulls the album back up and the final four songs provide a strong finish.

    If you like any of the current wave of indie rock, like Mumford and Sons, Delta Spirit, Dawes, Heartless Bastards, Deer Tick, Those Darlins, or even the newly folksy-rock sound of Jack White, you'll enjoy this band just as much (if not more). For some reason, whether it's a management issue or something else, the band hasn't quite enjoyed the success of its contemporaries, but by supporting These United States, you can help move that tide in the right direction.
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