United Interests; September 2008
The five-piece behind Jesse Elliott’s vocals is nothing special: bluesy, CCR-inspired folk rock. But the poetically playful lyrics manage to turn These United States’ Crimes into an intriguing sophomore effort. Crimes‘ opening song, “West Won,” kicks things off with a bang, combining biblical, Greek, and American historical references, rhymes that make your head spin (in a good way), and an indie tune right up The Shins’ alley. TUS shows their solemn side on the Mason Jennings-esque “Heaven Can Wait,” balancing it against the country jams “Six Fast Bullets” and “Those Low Country Girls,” which kick up the tempo enough to get your blood running and feet moving. There are a few missteps, unfortunately, like the dragging and awkward “Pleasure and Pain and Pride and Me.” But it’s nothing that can’t be fixed-especially if they learn to crank up the drums.