Although clearly a part of the shoegazing/dreampop scene, San Francisco's The Union Trade bring something new to the table. Surprisingly it's in their alt-country stylings so their guitars "twang" rather than just wash away into a world of effects pedals.
Opener 'Strings Break' begins their quest in pleasant and warm fashion with a delicate but likeable guitar melody. Yet they approach top form on 'Violent and Beautiful'; a wordless but emotionally-driven number which piles on layer upon layer of yearning guitar noises until halfway through they revert to heavier post-rock cliches. Thankfully this is the only time they make too much noise. It is the vocals which impress on 'Hopeless', guitarist Eric Salik and bassist Nate Munger investing a suitable amount of fragility that is offset by a great charming guitar tune. It's the shortest song but also the best one. That's not to dismiss 'Green Fields' though, which does a fine job of making emotional desolation listenable in eight energy-sapping minutes. Overall, The Union Trade show a subtlety and feeling that represent their chosen genre in a positive and forward-thinking light.