(New Album Review) The Union Trade- A Place of Long Years

San Francisco’s The Union Trade are situated squarely between the downcast consonance of post-rock and the glittering melancholy of shoegazing. On A Place of Long Years this is especially clear on the tracks on which guest vocalist Ann Yu (of Silver Swans) appears. On the one hand The Union Trade are a muscular (but not particularly heavy) post-rock group, on the other they can craft fatalistic shoegaze lullabies anchored by dreamy guitars and guest cellist Nate Blaz (of Geographer).

Also of particular interest is a chilly, mesmerizing trip-hop soundscape: “In the Empire of Giants”, perhaps the strongest song of the record. As I took this track in, I was reminded somewhat of “Missing You” by Slowdive, as well as much of Bowery Electric’s BeatThis song, however, has the added muscle and drama that we would expect of This Will Destroy You and The Evpatoria Report. And yet, it’s all so delicate and ethereal– just like that, it’s up in a puff of smoke.

Then there is that excellent conclusion, “Sailing Stones”, on which the tragic crescendo is given a shoegaze twist in the form of Yu’s refrain “I think you said, I think you said too much”. What a lovely album, and here’s hoping they keep their sound hybridized to showcase this interesting taste of theirs.

A Place of Long Years is set to drop on February 3rd.

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