Unionville is a relatively new band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that recently released their debut album entitled Cahill Pass. The band plays very straightforward music that embraces the tropes of pop/rock music with refined, radio friendly songwriting. As I was listening to the album the songs felt so polished in terms of the production as well as the performances that it's hard to imagine these types of songs residing in the fringe of what music offers in today's landscape. Suffice it to say they have more in common with popular bands from the ‘90s like Live and Toad the Wet Sprocket than indie rock bands of today such as Local Natives, Grizzly Bear and Deerhunter, and many other semi well known acts of 2016.
They get going with “Radio” which is the highlight on the album. There is a clear country flair to this song that the band wears very well. In fact I wish the remainder of the album veered towards this style but it ends up being very mixed. This is indeed a pop/country song but the band gets everything right here. It’s catchy without sounding cheesy and I thought the tasteful guitar fills were well implemented. They follow up with “December Waiting” which is another success. This is fun, catchy and sing-along worthy.
The next two songs “Still Standing” and “Everything” are essentially straight up pop songs. These are the single-worthy mainstream sounding song that you could easily imagine being on a FM dial. When I got to “The Weight of Karma” I was feeling the relative new formation on the band. “The Weight of Karma” is a far cry from the first two songs. The tip of the hat to the band Live seemed to be the case for this song. They go back into a pop/country vibe with “Always” and close with the impressive acoustic ballad “Not Enough.”
Cahill Pass is a solid album with consistently good songwriting but it feels slightly scattered. The band successfully pulls off a number of different styles but can’t quite nail their own on this record. I think Unionville will get there but they may just need some more time under their belt.
Overall, this album is worthy of your time as it does contain a number of gems.
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