The Union Ares – s/t LP (Disillusioned Records, strictly no capital letters, Old Man Giles, 2020)

Wow. Just wow. I bloody love discovering new bands that are this great. Props to Disillusioned Wayne (that’s what I’m calling you from now on by the way, mate) for both pointing this out to me and sending me an LP for review. The Union Ares is an indie rock collaboration of bands based in The Hague, Aberdeen and Glasgow featuring members of Carson Wells and Kolya. Wrap your head around that. Five blokes. Two separate countries. Which begs the question: in normal circumstances, how the hell do this lot get together to practice? Before we hit play, and you start wondering why I haven’t jetted off on a diatribe about American accents on non-American bands, yer man there appears to actually be American. Cool? Cool.

I’ve got a lot of time for your 1990s style post-hardcore, jerky emo janglings and the odd bit of mathy indie rock, so from opener Day 7 I’m properly paying attention; recalling as it does The Dismemberment Plan circa Is Terrified. I’m not often immediately captivated from the off, but consider me hooked, son.

This record is bringing to the fore memories of more innocent times and awesome bands. I’m thinking through bands I (and others) put on back in the day: The Copperpot Journals, Andy Glenn and Rich, The Little Explorer, Stapleton, The Wow, The Jesus Years and so on. I’m just glad that bands are still making this kind of thing happen, such as Belgium based act Supergenius (assuming they are still going).

I particularly love First Divorce today. On repeat listens, on different days, I’m finding different tracks have particular impact; yesterday it was Ocean (which for some reason put me in mind of the first Minus The Bear full length, Highly Refined Pirates) and t’other day Crescent.

It’s not all for vintage fogeys, though mate. If you ever fucked with the twinkly, shimmering likes of Algernon Cadwallader, or more recently Tiny Moving Parts and Tiger’s Jaw then I think you’ll find a great deal to enthuse you. Equally if you find yourself hankering after a bit of Benton Falls or Four Minute Mile era Get Up Kids style nostalgia, I can’t help but feel your fancy will almost certainly be tickled. And there’s nowt wrong with that.

Superb. Tony of Nurgle rating 9/10

This is available from Disillusioned Records, strictly no capital letters and apparently Old Man Giles, but I can’t find a link. Also direct from the band via bandcamp

There’s also a live stream of a set going down tomorrow night (5th June).

Find out more on The Union Ares Facebook page

Tony of Nurgle is a true child of the North, recently returned to Yorkshire and residing in Leeds (after close to a decade living in exile in Croydon and South East London). He used to co-run a specialist record store in Manchester (Roadkill Records), and also several years as a promoter, and put on shows for the likes of Leatherface, the Loved Ones, Lucero, Minus The Bear, These Arms Are Snakes, Spy vs Spy, Latterman etc. He also spent several years DJing at shady rock clubs in Manchester, and started the infamous Thursday night "punk room" at Jilly's Rockworld. Also responsible for Middle Finger Response, and collaborated with a couple of friends on a monthly night called Refuse to Lose, which will still occasionally reunite the original DJ line-up - next event at Retro in Manchester on 07/09/2019. Apart from that, it's all bitterness and a jaundiced view of human nature, occasionally skateboarding, always exhausted, often reading books with maps in the front.

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