These United States
[Rating: 3 Stars]
These United States’ lead singer Jesse Elliot has a scratchy, affected voice—maybe a super-strung-out Ryan Adams, if you’re looking for a point of reference—which makes for a varied listening experience: Sometimes you want it to lead you to the Promised Land (“Just This”), sometimes you just want to make it stop (“Ever Make You Mine”).
TUS are a tight band, with a broad range of musical influences; everything from Americana, the blues, country rock, roots and maybe a hint of jazz make their way into its sound. And the artistry is there—each song is brimming with character. “Water & Wheat,” the album’s closer, is an odd study; it’s an upbeat, rocking and danceable nugget, in a sea of downtempo tunes with downtrodden lyrics.