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The Union Themes

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Album Review

Produced and performed on by Brendan Canty and written and sung entirely by Lois Maffeo, The Union Themes is a simple, breathy collection of love songs. A collaboration between the indie folk chanteuse and Fugazi's drummer may be a pretty improbable pairing, but Maffeo's songs benefit so much from Canty's electric guitar lines and calm but purposeful percussion that it leaves some of her previous records sounding unrealized and half-baked. Sure, it helps that the ten tunes here are among Maffeo's best ever, with only the overwhelmingly silly "Give Faith" clunking up the sequence. But, for overlooking that one moment of unabashed sentimentality (which, to be honest, has one or two nice moments), the listener is rewarded with nine lovely acoustic-based heartstring tuggers — the best of which ("Con Job," "How I Came to Know," and the wonderful "You Love Your Wounds") offer bona fide indie pop singalong greatness. A nice, breezy album that's not exactly exciting but never boring, The Union Themes is the kind of relaxed relationship album listeners have grown to expect from Maffeo, only it's expertly and unexpectedly fleshed out this time around by, of all people, a hardcore drummer. Hope against hope that they'll do this again, and often.

The Union Themes, Lois Maffeo
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