THE UNION – Siren’s Song (2011)
When the British rock institution known as Thunder bowed out of action at 2009’s Sonisphere Festival, thousands of fans shed a tear at their dissolution.
Fast forward twelve short months from that swansong gig, their erstwhile lead guitarist Luke Morley formed a band, or better said, a duo with ex Winterville singer Peter Shoulder; The Union.
Their self-titled debut surprised both the fans and the critics, receiving rave reviews and a warm response.
Now, the duo is back with their 2nd effort to be released in October, “Siren’s Song” which is good, if not better, than its predecessor.
The 11 tracks that make up this sublime new recording are a breath of fresh air blowing through the UK rock scene.
Honed from the very foundation stone of what you might refer to as Classic Rock, I’ll grant you that you will be totally satisfied listening this album.
Although based around a brand of bluesy hard rock which fans of both men will instantly recognize, The Union is more varied than anything previously recorded by either musician.
That Morley almost single-handedly penned Thunder’s entire catalog is well known; we expect nothing less than quality from him.
But for Shoulder, a guy still in his mid-20s, to be performing at this level already is nothing short of stunning. It’s not just his rich, soulful voice – think a young David Coverdale with a raspy modern touch – it’s his writing, which is up there with people twice his age, and more.
After its unassuming acoustic intro, opening track “Siren’s Song” soon morphs into a foot-stomping rocker and is as close to Thunder as this record gets.
There’s other up-tempo rockers as the melting “Obsession”, the heavy blues “The Remedy”, the WhiteSnake-esque “Black Gold” and one of may favorites here, the semi-slow but powerful “Burning Daylight”, complete with great female backing vocals and a tremendous guitar riff.
But they’re not even half the story.
Whether turning their hand to the bluesy slow-burn of “Blame It On Tupelo”, adding a dash of Americana with “Make Up Your Mind” or taking it way down with the ballads “Cut The Line” or the awesome piano-based “If I Could Make You Mine”, you can say this is a varied, eclectic and entertaining album.
Quality is all over. Just listen my favorite tune in this CD: “Time”. This is a winner in all aspects. This wonderful classy semi-ballad is one of the best written/performed songs I heard in a long time (ouch), regardless of the genre. The guitar work – acoustic and electric – is top notch and the vocals are out of this world. Perfect song.
The Union is a true collaboration, which benefits from a flawless pairing of youth and experience and, of course, the skills of two genuinely gifted songwriters.
“Siren’s Song” is not merely two guys parachuting in with half a dozen pre-penned numbers at the eleventh hour. These are songs going where the wild winds blow, exploring ideas that have lain dormant, awaiting their moment.
The musicianship throughout this album is totally faultless, with Morley tending to take a bit of a backseat for the sake of the song, letting the space breathe and giving the whole thing a very organic feel.
Shoulder meanwhile is an absolute master in the vocal department, giving a display that a prime time David Coverdale or Doyle Bramhall II would be proud of. Now just remind me how old is he again???
“Siren’s Song” is a melodic, bluesy little gem that I implore you all to hear.
01 – Siren’s Song
02 – Blame It On Tupelo
03 – Orion
04 – Obsession
05 – Make Up Your Mind
06 – The Remedy
07 – Cut The Line
08 – Burning Daylight
09 – Black Gold
10 – Time
11 – If I Could Make You Mine
Luke Morley – Electric & Acoustic Guitars, Vocals
Peter Shoulder – Lead Vocals, Electric & Acoustic Guitars
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