When last we heard from These United States, the band was just about to release an album voted on, inadvertently, by the American public. The band’s follow-up, “What Lasts,” was somewhat less democratic, but then, a lot has happened since last year.
For one thing, singer and songwriter Jesse Elliott nearly drowned in Lake Michigan, which was a factor (along with the general grind of life on the road) that yielded darker themes than those on 2009’s “Everything is Everything.”
For another, soon after Elliott had finished recording demos for the new record, his laptop containing those demos ā and 300 other songs ā was stolen in Los Angeles.
Only the title track remained, and only because Elliott had just e-mailed it to a friend. Nevertheless, the band persevered, blending a mix of folk, rock and lovely, jangling pop on the reworked songs for the album. Hear for yourself on “The Great Rivers,” where steady acoustic guitar propels the song as warm piano and slide guitar fade in and out.
“What Lasts” is due July 20, and These United States will spend the summer on tour with Thao and Mirah With the Most of All and the Fruit Bats.
The Great Rivers mp3
Photo by Sarah Law