United We Stand is an old-fashioned album, in ways both good and bad.
It’s a succinct 10 tracks, and if it was on vinyl you’d listen to the first side over and over again, immersing yourself in the sunny, soulful opening ‘Na na na...’s of Miles Of Rope, and the acoustic guitar and piano finesse of The Only Way. Then there’s the standout title track, and the angular Diamond Blue, where Shawn Smith’s love-’em-or-hate-’em vocals elevate a sub-Pearl Jam rocker to something much more enticing.
Unfortunately, the album loses focus from here. Needle And Thread, eerily reminiscent of Smith’s solo composition My Very Best, is the latter half’s standout.
But take consolation that a not-quite-top-of-their-game Brad is still 10 times better than most things you’ll hear this month.