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Our Future Selves

Shuteye Unison

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Album Review

On their second full album, the San Francisco-based quartet Shuteye Unison perform a kind of spiky, romantic/post-punk-flavored indie rock that is at once part of the continuum and a little outside it. Our Future Selves doesn't break down any doors for originality but, just by following the paths it does, avoids the kind of overdriven pomp that so many other guitar-bass-drums lineups seem to want to embrace in their race to become the new Supertramp. Vocals are softly sung rather than bellowed or pronounced from the heights, there are calmly beautiful moments like the feedback and piano break on the opening "Be Kimball," and overall, Our Future Selves feels less like an overbearing romp than a coolly, gently confident ensemble effort. Those previously mentioned vocals are in many ways the secret weapon throughout the album. By sweetly gliding or soaring with the music instead of overpowering it, it lets the music itself step forward, as when the band builds to a full rush on "Better Hallway Vision" to a great stop-start conclusion. It's not understated diffidence or twee rambling by any means; the full-bodied punch of the title track, not to mention some of the guitar's push, betrays a love of U2 clearly enough, but it's rather nice to hear a band that avoids Coldplay's soul-crushingly dreary riffs on that style in favor of a richer, sweeter texture and more immediate rhythmic interest. The overlaid drums on "Swear Words" (credit to Jake Krohn's seasoned, deft performances there and throughout), slow rising guitar swells on "Portable Rome," and the propulsive shoegaze-tinged drive of "Century M" are three further examples of many of this album's best moments.

Our Future Selves, Shuteye Unison
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