Perhaps they felt a proper introduction was in order. Whatever the reason for the eponymous title, the fifth release by These United States does sum up the group's sound: energetic, life-affirming rock n’ roll with a country streak running through it. In less than five years, this prolific outfit has delivered an impressive run of albums. Led by Jesse Elliot, a witty and wordy singer/songwriter with a natural melodic touch, the band plays these ramshackle tunes loose and close to the bone. The contributors have changed from album to album, but the vision and delivery has been consistent. Here, a slew of guest musicians join in, including John McCauley (Deer Tick), Matthew Houck (Phospherescent), Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds), Ben Sollee, and other soulful musicians, all of who gel together. Tight guitar hooks, pedal steel, keyboards, and gorgeous backing vocals (“Miss Underground” and “Two Gods” stand out in particular) support the lyrical landslide. These United States cruise a bit under the radar now, but it’s unlikely to stay that way considering the strength of these songs and their touring schedule.