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What Lasts

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Album Review

There is nothing wrong with being eccentric, odd, or goofy in the music world; eccentricity has worked wonders for everyone from George Clinton to Devo to Frank Zappa to avant-garde jazz explorers like Ornette Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, and Anthony Braxton. But there is a way to go about it, and These United States have a reputation for trying a little too hard when it comes to getting in touch with their inner oddball. Their work can be overly self-conscious — and on What Lasts, which is These United States' fourth full-length studio album, they continue to sound like they are trying a bit too hard. Much of the time, their eccentricity still sounds like a forced eccentricity rather than an organic or natural one. But that is not to say that the 35-minute CD is without its pleasures. These United States are not an unlikable band, and their lyrics can be entertaining at times. Picture a 21st century combo with a psychedelic folk-rock/Americana approach that is greatly influenced by the hippie counterculture of the '60s and '70s; that is where These United States are coming from on this 2010 release, as well as on their previous releases. But while the hippie musicians and flower children of the baby boomer era were organic in their oddball experimentation, What Lasts often has a contrived quality. These United States are trying to transport the listener back to a conversation among a group of weed-smoking flower children circa 1971/1972, but lyrically, they continue to miss the mark and end up sounding pretentious instead. Nonetheless, they do have an appealing sense of melody, and despite this album's shortcomings, one doesn't want to give up on These United States just yet.

Customer Reviews

Epic

Epic

A great live show

Saw these guys again in DC this winter and they put on an incredible live show. They have been touring for years and are as tight a live band as you can find out there. Maybe the reviewer should get out of his apartment and check them out when they come to town.

These United States

Saw these guys in Williamsburg with Low Anthem and they put on a hell of a show. Check em out!

Biography

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Combining Devendra Banhart's "new weird American" eccentricity, Flaming Lips-influenced electronic bells and whistles, and a Wilco-esque twanginess, These United States create a musical melting pot that blends together a wide array of influences. Born of a collaboration between Jesse Elliott and David Strackany (the man behind Paleo), These United States put together the songs that would become their debut LP in 2007. The resulting album, A Picture...
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What Lasts, These United States
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