Jesse Elliott’s (QRO interview) These United States had been putting out new albums at a pretty heady clip, with two in 2008 (A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gat To the Garden of Eden and Crimes – QRO review), and another two in 2009 & 2010 (Everything Touches Everything – QRO review – and What Lasts – QRO review), but just as they couldn’t quite keep up that pace (none in 2011), their arc of getting better & better couldn’t continue either, as What Lasts was the first T.U.S. record not better than the one before. So a relative break for the alt-country rock band was needed – and These United States is a welcome return.
That’s evident from opener "Dead & Gone", which has the country-grit up-step that’s found on the best T.U.S. pieces, and keeps up the energy on such other tracks as the more garage "Born Young", backswing "Maps", and especially the up-twang "So Sweet to be Back" – "Sweet to be Back" indeed. There’s also slow material, like the carry-twang "Let the River In", but it’s slow as T.U.S. knows how to do, with a wry/resigned/relaxed world-wise & -weary tone in "Miss Underground", "Two Gods", and "Vince". And the group brings some newer, more interesting elements to back-to-back "The Angel’s Share" and "The Park", the former a sad & distant storm a-comin’, the latter sad number about wanting the good times to never end.
QRO’s been touting the T.U.S. flag for a while, so we’re especially happy that the good times are so sweet to be back.
MP3 Stream: "The Park"